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Florida state
representative accused of making homophobic comments

Florida state
representative accused of making homophobic comments

Several AIDS organizations have called for Florida state representative D. Alan Hays to be censured or removed from office after he purportedly said that his gay cousin deserved to die of AIDS, the Orlando Sentinel reported Friday.

Advocates from across the country criticized Hays at a press conference in Fort Lauderdale, citing comments he allegedly made to an AIDS health care group on Wednesday.

"Not only should this individual be censured, but I think this person should be removed from office," said Michael Rajner, national secretary for the Campaign to End AIDS, to the Sentinel. "He also should not be allowed to serve on any committee with appropriations as well."

Shortly after the conference Hays released a statement denying the allegations. "I am known for being plainspoken and for speaking my mind, but I am outraged that this group is making these claims against me," he wrote, according to the Sentinel. "I have spent a lifetime as a health care professional and have compassionately cared for several patients afflicted with AIDS. My own cousin died of this disease, and it was a tragedy for him to die so young. To say that I said otherwise is absolutely not true."

Two nurses and a regional manager from AIDS advocacy group Positive Healthcare contend that Hays leaned across his desk during their meeting and said his cousin was "as queer as a three-dollar bill" and "had that homosexual lifestyle and deserved what he got," reported the Sentinel.

Lisa Apple was one of the nurses present in Hays's office when he allegedly made the degrading remarks.

"I thought, Oh, no. No, no, no. That's not the way we see things," she said to the Sentinel. "I feel like I've gone back 20 years.... Are you saying to me that this is a population that may or may not deserve this care because of their sexuality?"

The meeting was called to address concerns over Florida Medicaid cuts that may severely affect AIDS patients living in the state. (The Advocate)

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