By Advocate.com Editors
Originally published on Advocate.com April 03 2003 12:00 AM ET
A recent letter from a lawyer for Minnesota state representative Arlon Lindner has upset Rep. Neva Walker, a black state lawmaker, because she said it got her name wrong, listing her as Walker-Black. Lindner is the subject of an ethics complaint by eight Minnesota house members, including Walker, who found some of Lindner's recent comments regarding Nazi persecution of gays offensive to both gays and blacks. Walker said the way her name was printed on the letter was probably an accident, but added, "I am an elected official, and I deserve respect, and that misprint is a lack of respect." James Anderson, Lindner's lawyer, said he apologized to Walker, adding that it was a "simple mistake."
"I can tell you that the person typing the letter apparently looked at the file and put the words together wrong," he said. "Basically, it's a tempest in a teapot," he said, adding that "some people are just hypersensitive if, from a simple mistake, they can call someone a racist."
Walker said, "It's easy to say that when you're not on the receiving end of a racist comment, but racist attacks are emotionally and mentally draining. And I am far from sensitive. It takes a lot to offend me."
Lindner has questioned whether gays were persecuted by the Nazis during World War II and suggested that his bill to strip gays and lesbians of human rights protections in Minnesota would combat AIDS and keep the United States from becoming "another African continent," a comparison he drew because of the high incidence of AIDS there. Anderson wants to compel house members who filed the complaint to answer his questions in a public hearing. A hearing on the merits of the ethics complaint is scheduled for next week.