Sometimes removing his glasses to squint at the smallest print, Minnesota state representative Arlon Lindner closely examined each of 28 panels that the Washington, D.C.-based United States Holocaust Memorial Museum sent to a Minneapolis YWCA to document the discrimination gay people suffered at the hands of Nazis during World War II. When he was done, Lindner told reporters that he has no regrets for remarks he made in March that outraged some gays and blacks. He stressed that he believes the Bible teaches that homosexuality is a sin and "a perverted lifestyle."
"I pretty much stand by what I said," said Lindner, a Republican from Corcoran. "I don't feel that I owe an apology to anybody."
During the legislative session, Lindner was accused by Democratic legislators of ethics violations for saying that accounts of the Nazi persecution of gays represented a "rewriting of history." Lindner's critics grew angrier still when he said he didn't want "to sit around here and wait until America becomes another African continent," a reference he said applied to the spread of HIV and AIDS.
The way Lindner recalls those remarks--made in reference to his bill to repeal state human rights protections for people based on their sexual orientation--he was only trying to say that gay people never suffered to the extent that Jewish people did during World War II.
He came away from his tour Tuesday convinced that he was right, although he said he was moved by what he saw and read in the exhibit, titled "Nazi Persecution of Homosexuals, 1933-1945."