Rep. Larry Brown, the Kernersville Republican who garnered national condemnation last year after he described gay people as "Fruitloops" and "queers" in an e-mail to other legislators, says one of his priorities for the year will be to eliminate state funding for AIDS and HIV treatments for adults.
In an interview with the Winston-Salem Journal, Brown said taxpayers shouldn't pay to help those with the disease because they "caused it by the way they live."
"I'm not opposed to helping a child born with HIV or something, but I don't condone spending taxpayers' money to help people living in perverted lifestyles," said Brown, a retired letter carrier who ran unopposed in November to win a fourth term.
Recent statistics from the U.S. Centers For Disease Control show that about half of new cases of HIV/AIDS are contracted by people who are not gay, either through heterosexual activity or drug use.
UPDATE: The Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest LGBT civil rights organization, issued a statement Wednesday calling on Brown to apologize.
“Rep. Brown’s ill-informed comments are not only hateful rhetoric, but they are also extremely dangerous,” said Joe Solmonese, the group's national president. “Hysterical, judgmental and inaccurate statements like Brown’s create an environment that prevents many from getting tested and seeking treatment, thereby furthering the spread of HIV and AIDS. Larry Brown’s conduct reflects poorly on his constituents and other elected officials. The people of North Carolina deserve better.”
After his "fruitloops" e-mail became public in October, gay rights activists sent more than 300 empty boxes of Froot Loops breakfast cereal to Brown's office. The boxes were empty, and the bags of cereal sent to local food banks and homeless shelters, so as not to violate state ethics laws concerning gifts. But each has a personal message from a donor affixed to the back.