After Assembly Speaker-designate Ira Hansen, R-Sparks, was confronted with sexist, misogynist and racist writings from his days at the Sparks Tribune, he apologized by saying that was a long time ago.
“I am deeply sorry that comments I have made in the past have offended many Nevadans. It is unfortunate that these comments, made almost 20 years ago as a newspaper columnist and talk radio host, have been taken out of context and are being portrayed as intentionally hurtful and disrespectful,” Hansen wrote.
Hansen started writing for the Sparks Tribune in 1994, and continued through 2010. (That wasn’t all that long ago, by the way. Hansen, who was born in 1960, was 34 when he began writing for the Tribune, old enough to know better.)
But maybe things have changed from between 20 to four years ago, right?
I’ve obtained a letter Hansen wrote May 21, 2013, on his official state letterhead, to oppose a Senate resolution that seeks to repeal the state constitution’s ban on gay marriage and legalize gay marriage in Nevada. And let’s just say he doesn’t exactly take a progressive position on the subject. (The letter is linked below.)
He starts by saying that gays are not a minority group, in the way that ethnic people are.
“Homosexuality, by contrast, is a human behavior, not an ethnicity. One hundred percent of us in theory could be or not be homosexual,” Hansen wrote, going on to list “examples of sexual behaviors,” such as adultery, prostitution, pedophilia, incest, pederasty, bisexuality, bigamy, bestiality, homosexuality, etc.
“All of the above are choices,” he continued. “No one is ‘born’ as a member of these so-called ‘minority’ groups. Like all sexual behaviors, people have to choose to do them. Thus, people who engage in homosexuality are not a ‘minority’ any more than adulterers are a minority. Would prostitutes be classified as an historically discriminated against ‘minority’ for special treatment under law?”
That’s right, people: According to Hansen (by trade a plumber, and not a psychiatrist, psychologist, sociologist, or anything of the like) being gay is just as much a choice as having sex for money, or with an animal, or with a child.
But wait, there’s more.
“Another issue is ‘natural/unnatural.’ Sex is ultimately about reproduction. Until the term ‘pregnant man’ is not an oxymoron, male on male or female on female (pseudo) sex is by definition unnatural. A simple review of the body parts/orifices and their correct functions speak volumes,” Hansen wrote.
And Hansen delved into history a little, too:
“Homosexual marriages simply do not exist except in very isolated incidences. For example, a Roman emperor who was a pederast (a homosexual child molester) ‘married’ his barely pubescent male sex slave. Such examples are clearly exceptions to the rule.
“Greek society is often held up as the ideal for homosexual attitudes. However, most famous Greek homosexuals were actually bisexual — Socrates had a wife and children in spite of being recorded in history as a homosexual.”
And according to Hansen, being gay is bad for you.
“Our ancestors and almost every society in history have seen homosexual behavior as an aberration. Were they all merely bigots and religious fanatics, or were they in fact very well grounded in reality?
“For an answer, do a search of ‘health risks of homosexuality.’ A real eye opener. Considering we have had a crusade against smoking, knowing smoking shortens lives on an average of six to seven years, does it not seem like a powerful contradiction when, by comparison, for males, homosexual conduct shortens lives by 15 to 20 years?”
Again, these things were not uttered 20 years ago in a bid to get readers of a Northern Nevada newspaper to read his stuff. They were written just last year, on official letterhead, as Hansen acting in his official capacity sought to influence the course of debate on an issue of public policy.
Something tells me there’s very little difference between the Ira Hansen of yesteryear and the Ira Hansen who has been (thus far) selected by his colleagues in the Assembly as their best choice for leader. Whether they continue to endorse the idea that Hansen is the best choice to represent them and their views is a caucus decision. But no one should be found to say Hansen’s outrageous remarks were confined to a misspent youth.