Rep. Paul Stam's 'sexual orientation' comments called 'shameful'

jmorrill@charlotteobserver.comJune 24, 2014 

XGR06-NE-072613-CCS

Rep. Paul Stam, R-Apex, speaks as a bill is discussed during the final day of the N.C. House session held at the Legislative Building in Raleigh on July 26, 2013.

CHRIS SEWARD — cseward@newsobserver.com Buy Photo

— A Republican lawmaker’s suggestion that the definition of sexual orientation could include everything from incest to pedophilia sparked outrage among some colleagues Tuesday.

In a debate over charter schools, a lawmaker offered an amendment that would have prohibited discrimination, including over sexual orientation. Rep. Paul Stam of Apex questioned the amendment and passed out a two-page paper titled, “What is Sexual Orientation?”

Taken from the American Psychiatric Association’s “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders,” published in 2000, it listed 30 definitions, including fetishism, sadism, bestiality and pedophilia.

The association actually classified many of the definitions on the list as disorders at one time and last year, said pedophilia was mistakenly called a “sexual orientation.”

“This is shameful,” Democratic Rep. Tricia Cotham of Mecklenburg County, said later of Stam’s list. “He needs to understand that his words and his actions are offensive and cannot be tolerated.”

Democratic Rep. Marcus Brandon of High Point, the only openly gay legislator, called Stam’s comments “ridiculous.”

Stam said later he was only trying to get the author of the amendment to define sexual orientation.

“I’ve never gotten an answer from people who use the term ‘sexual orientation’,” he said.

The amendment, by Rep. Susan Fisher of Asheville was tabled.

Equality North Carolina Executive Director Chris Sgro told Q-Notes, a publication oriented to the gay and lesbian community, that Stam’s comments “represent not only an embarrassing display of anti-LGBT rhetoric in North Carolina, but a clear and present reminder of why these protections are so necessary — in our schools, in our workplaces, and at all level of everyday life in the state we call home.”

Morrill: 704-358-5059

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