Campfield to Remain on High School Wall of Fame

A New York high school will continue to honor a Tennessee state senator despite controversy over his comments about the origins of the virus that causes AIDS, according to The Tennessean.
The Vestal Board of Education refused to take Sen. Stacey Campfield, R-Knoxville, out of its high school’s Wall of Fame, despite an online petition and a public hearing on the issue Tuesday night.
A Vestal student started a campaign to take Campfield’s picture down because of his views on homosexuality. School board members said Tuesday night that Campfield’s opinions do not disqualify him from the Wall of Fame, reports the Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin, a sister paper to The Tennessean.
“You may be surprised to know that we have heard from many, many people, including students, who understand and agree with our position,” Board President Kim Myers read from a statement at the meeting as some audience members booed. “Many who feel intimidated and fearful to publicly state their approval for fear of being labeled a bigot or anti-gay. When you attempt to shout down opposing voices, who is the bully?”
Campfield graduated from Vestal High School in 1986 and has frequently drawn fire, especially from gay rights groups. Campfield was the primary Senate sponsor during the recent legislative session of the so-called “Don’t Say Gay” bill, which would have discouraged discussion of homosexuality in elementary and middle school.
…Protesters promised to return to board meetings every two weeks until the portrait is removed.
Campfield said an interview Wednesday that the campaign to have him removed from the Wall of Fame is an attempt to squelch views that homosexuality is immoral.
“I think the homosexual community is one of the biggest bullies in politics that there is,” he told The Tennessean. “They’ll go nationwide on a national issue to try to intimidate anyone who disagrees with their lifestyle.”

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