A Democratic Representative of Durham and Orange Counties is slamming a Republican colleague for remarks he made about homosexuality, during a North Carolina House session on Tuesday:
“Many, many sexual orientations are not ones you want to have teaching kids in school. Now, you may think you know what you mean by this, but you don’t. I encourage you to vote against this amendment.”
That’s Republican Rep. Paul “Skip” Stam, speaking on the floor of the North Carolina House Tuesday about an amendment to pending charter school legislation that deals with hiring practices.
The author of the amendment, Democratic Rep. Susan Fisher of Buncombe County, wanted “sexual orientation” and “gender” added to a list of things that could not be used to disqualify job candidates.
During his remarks, Stam directed the sergeant-at-arms to circulate a paper titled “What is Sexual Orientation?”
The list of 30 definitions provided by Stam was taken from the “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders” published 14 years ago by the American Psychiatric Association.
Definitions include pedophilia, sado-masochism and various fetishes. The APA has since stated that pedophilia was mistakenly listed as a “sexual orientation.”
Right away, Stam was roundly criticized on the House floor, on Twitter, and in the pressfor his comments and actions.
In an interview with WCHL on Wednesday, Democratic Rep. Graig Meyer added his voice to that chorus.
“His comments were quite offensive,” said Meyer, “and I don’t believe that anyone in common usage thinks about pedophilia as a sexual orientation.”
Meyer told WCHL he had a few words with Stam after he made his comments.
“I went over to Rep. Stam immediately afterwards and told him that he was using the wrong citation, and that the DSM did not actually describe those things as sexual orientations,” said Meyer.
According to Meyer, he later emailed all of his house colleagues to correct Stam’s use of the citation.
In an email response to questions from WCHL, Fisher said she offered the amendment “to more fully delineate the groups who should be included in the non-discriminatory portion of the bill. We know that if the populations are specifically named in the law that they are less likely to be discriminated against than if it is just a vague statement. It would have covered students and employees/teachers.”
Regarding Stam’s remarks, Fisher said: “It was disappointing to me to see that there are still those who would use outdated and inaccurate information to inform their debate.”
Republican leadership in the House used parliamentary procedure to table Fisher’s amendment, and Meyer called that “more offensive than Rep. Stam’s comments.”
“I’m supportive of the amendment,” said Meyer. “I believe that it’s important to include sexual orientation and gender identity in non-discrimination clauses that are sponsored by governmental organizations. And I think that would be a good thing to have in our charter school legislation.”
WCHL reached out to Rod Chaney, the Republican challenger for Meyer’s seat in the November election, for reaction to Stam’s comments and Fisher’s amendment.
He replied by email that he is currently on vacation with his family in Alaska, and did not respond further.