Karen in the Hot Seat

Gays are okay, except sometimes

NT: Karen, whether you believe in homosexuality or not, it exists.

Johnson: Right. Fine. It's existed for ages. But I don't want to validate it as something good or something that children should go out and participate in, because I think there are a lot of adverse consequences to that choice.

NT: You really believe that homosexuality is a choice.

Newly appointed Senator Karen Johnson has left the House for a seat next to gay legislator Ken Cheuvront.
Emily Piraino
Newly appointed Senator Karen Johnson has left the House for a seat next to gay legislator Ken Cheuvront.

Johnson: Oh, absolutely it's a choice. There's no way that people were born that way.

NT: Really. So I guess recent findings by the scientific community about how the hypothalamus determines sexual orientation --

Johnson: I think all of those [findings] have pretty much been discredited.

NT: You often cite gays as wanting "special" rights when we campaign for marriage and the like. How are those special rights?

Johnson: (Laughing.) Gays have the choice to marry someone of the opposite sex, if they want to. If they choose to be together, they can be, but without the benefit of marriage.

NT: So let me get this right: It's okay for people to be gay, so long as we don't ask for the same rights that others are afforded, and so long as we don't talk about being gay.

Johnson: Well, it's okay to be gay, if you choose to do that, but there needs to be limits to it, because there are pretty detrimental consequences to choosing that lifestyle.

NT: Like what?

Johnson: Health, for one thing.

NT: Homosexuality does not necessarily lead to compromised health.

Johnson: I guess that's where we disagree. Not that promiscuity among heterosexuals doesn't also lead to some very bad health issues, too.

NT: How about the fact that not all homosexuals are promiscuous?

Johnson: Uh, you probably are correct about a small percentage of them.

NT: So most homosexuals are just plain slutty.

Johnson: I do believe that the homosexual lifestyle tends to be more promiscuous, yes. You're free to disagree with me.

NT: Thank you. I think I will. Like a lot of people who want to discriminate against gays, you often mention God in interviews and speeches. But the last time I checked, gays weren't asking God for equal rights. They were asking lawmakers.

Johnson: And they can do that, but I think that if we stick with our traditional family values, it won't happen. Society has moved an awfully long way away from [affording gay rights], although the time may come. But in other civilizations where that's happened, we've had very detrimental results.

NT: I think you don't have anything to worry about when it comes to homosexuals ever having equal rights during our lifetime. There are too many people like yourself in power for that to ever happen.

Johnson: That may be. I can only speak for myself. Anyway, they can marry in Canada, so I guess if [homosexuals] feel strongly about doing that, they could go to Canada.

NT: Except you have to be a Canadian citizen to get a gay marriage license there.

Johnson: Oh. You can't just go there and get married and then come back to the U.S.?

NT: No. If you could, we'd all be vacationing in Saskatchewan this spring.

Johnson: Well, the bottom line is I have to answer to my Lord, my God. I'm here to promote what I think is right from my point of view. I've always felt the best policy is to be honest about things. There are a lot of people around here who don't do that. And it hasn't been easy, being honest about things. Believe me.

E-mail robrt.pela@newtimes.com

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