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Longtime GOP Congressman C.W. Bill Young chided for role in anti-gay Johns Committee

Democrat Jessica Ehrlich is running for U.S. House in Florida's 10th Congressional District (Pinellas County) against longtime incumbent Republican C.W. Bill Young.

Today, Ehrlich's campaign has resurrected Young's involvement a half-century ago in the infamous Johns Committee, which persecuted civil rights groups and gay Floridians in the late 1950s and early '60s.

From the Ehrlich campaign:

As a new member in the Florida State legislature in 1962, Bill Young participated in one of the darkest moments in Florida state history. Rep. C.W. Bill Young (R-FL-10) is the last living member of the Florida Legislative Investigation Committee. Better know as the “John’s Committee,” the Committee was based on the notorious McCarthy Panel and functioned as a State-sponsored, fear-driven hate group that investigated and persecuted homosexuals in the 1950’s and 60’s. Led by, FL State Senator Charley Eugene Johns, then State Senator Bill Young served on the Committee in Tallahassee from 1962-65, until its funding was cut.

Young was an active member of this disgraceful time in Florida state politics. In 1964, the Committee published and distributed a notorious report entitled, Homosexuality and Citizenship in Florida, widely known as the “Purple Pamphlet.” The Committee’s records were sealed until 2038 but opened in 1993, the “Purple Pamphlet” and photographic evidence are now in circulation. To this date, not one member of the Committee has publicly apologized or been held responsible for the hundreds of teachers, administrators and students who were fired, expelled or intimidated as a result of the Committee’s purges.

Young has continued his hateful ways to this day. Voting in lock step with the most conservative members for backward thinking and ignorant pieces of legislation. He has voted for the Constitutional Amendment to ban same-sex marriage, opposed expanding the federal hate crime law, against repealing "Don't Ask Don't Tell" and supported the Defense of Marriage Act.

St Petersburg and Pinellas County have a strong and proud LGBT community and should be represented by someone who stands with them and their issues. Jessica Ehrlich has been endorsed by eQuality Giving and the Pinellas County Stonewall Democrats because of her staunch support of LGBT issues.

John's Committee Timeline John's Committee


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