‘Social Conservatives’ Hope to Block ‘AIDS Czar’ Nomination
In a "significant break" with the Bush administration, "social conservatives ... are mobilizing to try to kill" the nomination of Scott Evertz to the position of director of the White House Office of National AIDS Policy, the Washington Post reports. Right-wing leaders "attacked" Evertz, a gay Republican, for his efforts to persuade black ministers to "stop describing homosexuality as a sin." However, Steve Gunderson, a former U.S. representative from Wisconsin, said that Evertz merely wants to eliminate the stigma of homosexuality in the black community, where he feels it hinders those with HIV/AIDS from discussing the disease and seeking testing and treatment. Conservatives, however, feel that Evertz's position on the issue is one example of his "homosexual agenda," and they say that his nomination will lead to lower voter turnout by social conservatives in the 2002 election, thus "endangering" the Republican majority in Congress. Richard Lessner, executive director of American Renewal, a branch of the Family Research Council, said, "This is another case of Republicans trying to ingratiate themselves with natural opponents, and a thumb in the eye of supporters. President Bush may think the Log Cabin Republicans [a gay group] delivered him the election. If that is the case, he is sorely deluded." The Family Research Council will host a session today aimed at brainstorming "strategies to press for Evertz's resignation" (Edsall, Washington Post, 4/12).