Archive for Sunday, October 15, 2006

Gerry Studds, first openly homosexual in Congress, dies at 69

October 15, 2006


— Former Rep. Gerry Studds, who became the first openly gay member of Congress when his homosexuality was exposed during a teenage page sex scandal, died early Saturday. He was 69.

Studds died at Boston Medical Center several days after he collapsed while walking his dog, his husband said. Doctors determined his loss of consciousness was due to a blood clot in his lung, Dean Hara said.

Studds regained consciousness and seemed to be improving, but his condition deteriorated Friday because of a second blood clot. The origin of the second clot was not immediately determined, said Hara, who married Studds shortly after same-sex marriage was legalized in Massachusetts in 2004.

Hara said Studds gave courage to gay people by winning re-election after publicly acknowledging his homosexuality.

"He gave people of his generation, of my generation, of future generations, the courage to do whatever they wanted to do," said Hara, 49.

Studds was first elected in 1972 and represented Cape Cod and the Islands, New Bedford, and the South Shore for 12 Congressional terms. He retired from Congress in 1997.

In his early career, Studds was known for opposing the Vietnam War and military intervention in Central America. Studds later became an advocate for a stronger federal response to the AIDS crisis and was among the first members of Congress to endorse lifting the ban on gays serving in the military.

In 1983, Studds acknowledged his homosexuality after a 27-year-old man disclosed that he and Studds had had a sexual relationship a decade earlier when the man was a teenage congressional page.

The House of Representatives censured Studds, who then went home to face his constituents in a series of public meetings.

At the time, Studds called the relationship with the teenage page, which included a trip to Europe, "a very serious error in judgment." But he did not apologize and defended the relationship as a consensual relationship with a young adult. The former page later appeared publicly with Studds in support of him.

The scandal recently resurfaced when Rep. Mark Foley, R-Fla., resigned after exchanging sexually explicit instant messages with a page. Republicans accused Democrats of hypocrisy for savaging Foley while saying little about Studds at that time.

Hara said Studds was never ashamed of the relationship with the page.

"This young man knew what he was doing," Hara said. "He was at (Studds') side."

Studds told his colleagues in a speech on the floor of the House that everyone faces a daily challenge of balancing public and private lives.

"These challenges are made substantially more complex when one is, as am I, both an elected public official and gay," Studds said at the time.

In Congress, Studds was an outspoken advocate for the fishing industry and was hailed by his constituents for his work establishing a limit for foreign fishing vessels 200 miles from the coast. After leaving Congress, he became a lobbyist for the fishing industry and environmental causes.

"His work on behalf of our fishing industry and the protection of our waters has guided the fishing industry into the future and ensured that generations to come will have the opportunity to love and learn from the sea," Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., said in a statement. "He was a steward of the oceans."

In 1996, Congress named the 842-square-mile Gerry E. Studds Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary after him in recognition of his work protecting the marine environment.

In addition to Hara, Studds is survived by a brother, a sister and four nephews.


Wilbur_Nether 11 years, 6 months ago

engagehorn wrote "Someone needs to keep track of the hypocrites."

I nominate, well, engagehorn.

Katara 11 years, 6 months ago

The man is dead. Can you please get over it and move on?

What he did in 1973 for what he was censured for in 1983 is long past and has no reflection on what happens with Foley today.

bearded_gnome 11 years, 6 months ago

nancy pelosi voted five times for studds to have a committee chairmanship, after the sex scandal, so there's hypocrite #1. appropriate to today, too.

roger_o_thornhill 11 years, 6 months ago

You can probably find about 535 or so hypocrites in congress. Everyone is at some point in their life. Anyone who says otherwise is a liar.

Katara 11 years, 6 months ago

Nice godwin, engagehorn.

Comparing Gerry Studds to Hitler or implying that his crime is on the same level as what Hitler did is beyond loony.

Tychoman 11 years, 6 months ago

His performance as a lawmaker and the kind of life he led after an incident he had one year into his term outweighs what he did.

"You liberals always engage in that dishonest tactic when you cannot defend your position." Um, yeah. No. We don't "always" engage in that. References to Hitler and any other fascist dictator come up on both sides of the aisle, don't throw that crap at us, conservativeman--er, I mean engagehorn.

Wilbur_Nether 11 years, 6 months ago

engagehorn suggested that someone should keep tabs on "Democrats who are currently criticizing Mark Foley [who] show up at Studds' funeral." I nominated engagehorn for the task of keeping that record, to which engagehorn responded "In addition to that being a personal attack on a fellow forum user (a violation of the rules), it is inaccurate."

I am truly confused here. How did suggesting that engagehorn should follow through with his or her recommendation become a personal attack? How can it be either accurate or inaccurate--it wasn't a statement of fact. Nor was it portrayed as such--only a recommendation that since engagehorn is concerned about which citizens attend Studds' funeral that engagehorn should take the initiative to carry out his or her own suggestion.

Katara 11 years, 6 months ago

Engagehorn said: "The point was that just because someone is dead does not mean that they cannot be criticized. Hitler is an extreme case of that."

And my point is that you engage in the extremes.

BTW, please do tell why you think I'm a liberal. You seem to be in the habit of labelling people as liberal that don't agree with you.

Wilbur_Nether 11 years, 6 months ago

Patriotman wrote: "Your personal attack on engagehorn was just that, a personal attack. It was clearly your intent and this member of the jury finds you guilty."

If I gave indication I intended a personal attack, I miscommunicated badly. For that, I extend my apologies to engagehorn.

Tychoman 11 years, 6 months ago

Unlike you I haven't had to change my identity every other week or so. If you know who bialystocknbloom was, then how are you not who I think/know you are? Unless you're Arminius. That would explain the exhuming of Clinton. When you say "think before you speak," do us all a favor and take your own advice, conservativeman OR Arminius.

New democrat?

Tychoman 11 years, 6 months ago

Patriotman, he took responsibility for what he did. He admitted it, he went through the trial and all, and he survived. Then again, I don't know why I'm even communicating to you, engagehorn, or the rest of your reincarnations.

Wilbur_Nether 11 years, 6 months ago

Hey, what happened to engagehorn? Was it something I said?

badger 11 years, 6 months ago

Y'know, I was born in 1973. While I do agree that it's hypocritical of people who didn't ever criticize Studds or vote to censure him to lambaste Foley, there's no amount of "He did it so no one else should get grief for it!" that will make a 33-year-old action and a 23-year-old scandal any sort of reasonable justification for what Mark Foley, specifically tasked with watching out for Missing and Exploited Children did.

What Gerry Studds did was wrong, yes. But the scandal itself is old enough to vote, and in certain parts of Kansas the original act is old enough to have grandchildren. It's relevant as a data point, but frankly the Foley scandal is a much bigger concern with regard to exactly who knew he was preying on minors and when, and why something wasn't done about it a year, two years, or even three years ago when there was the intimation that it was a problem.

Katara 11 years, 6 months ago

Badger wrote: ..."But the scandal itself is old enough to vote, and in certain parts of Kansas the original act is old enough to have grandchildren. It's relevant as a data point,"...

I have to say that was one of the funniest parts of any sentence I have read in a long while!

Tychoman 11 years, 6 months ago

I love you badger, where have you been? HAHAHA!

badger 11 years, 6 months ago

I haven't been online as much as I had been. Lots lots lots to do, with the hiking and the camping and the pagan festivalling and the roses still blooming and the tomatoes needing to be tended.

Also, new kitten. New kittens are a sure cure for screwing around on the internet, because if they're not being ridiculously cute, they're standing on the keyboard being ridiculously cute.

We got a 'Canadian Blast' weather pattern here a few days ago. It's down into the 70s. However, keep good thoughts out for omb. I think there's flooding in his neck of the woods.

Tychoman 11 years, 6 months ago

No, you're not a new poster. Your writing style and general narrowmindedness betray conservativeman.

"Mr. [Badger], welcome back, we missed you."

Leprechaunking13 11 years, 6 months ago

Tychoman you should never talk on any board ever all you do is give personal attacks on who you THINK is posting you should take the advice given to you by patriotman and the advice I gave you a few days ago and shut up

Tychoman 11 years, 6 months ago

Your ignorance of me is blinding, lep. Stay out of what you don't understand--which means you can probably just close your account on these boards altogether.

They're not ALL personal attacks, I'm not that clever. Stop giving me so much credit, you're making me blush.

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