New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - April 2, 1985, New Braunfels, Texas
A&M wants to work around homosexual ruling
COLLEGE STATION (AP) - Texas A&M University officials plan to explore “legal alternatives” to a Supreme Court ruling that forbids the university from denying recognition to a homosexual student group.
“If everything fails, then certainly we will comply with every order from the Supreme Court,” said Ted J. Hajovsky, general counsel of the A&M system. “A&M has a history of being good soldiers and like good soldiers we will comply.’
The high court ruling let stand a lower court finding that A&M violated the rights of an organization called Gay Students Services by denying the group recognition.
“Naturally, we’re disappointed,” said Hajovsky. He expressed the fear that the court ruling may erase all boundaries of
what student organizations are permitted to do.
“Are we going to have any students with perverted ideas able to band together and promote their ideas?” asked Hajovsky. “It could be free love, or even with animals. It’s hard for me to draw the line anymore.
“There must be a line somewhere,” he added. “If you got to the point that human sacrifice is part of my religion, are you going to allow that? Obviously not. But where do you draw the line? That’s the most frustrating part, trying to determine how far you must go.”
The university in 1976 refused to recognize the Gay Student Services group, claiming that the group could lead to “increased overt homosexual activity and resulting physical,
psychological and disease ramifications... in the student body.”
A federal judge in Houston upheld the university ban against the GSS in 1983, but the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said last August that A&M acted against the group because of its homosexual ideas.
A&M officials had argued that withholding recognition was in keeping with the university’s policy of forbidding fraternities.
The university also argued that at the time recognition was denied there was a Texas statute forbidding homosexual activities and that the denial merely supported the law. In 1983, however, the Texas statute was struck down in federal court as unconstitutional.
Patrick Wiseman, an attorney who represented the gay group, said that legal
tradition was on the side of the homosexual group.
“Tile case law is clear that universities are to be a free market of ideas, so both sides of a question can be heard,” said Wiseman, who now is an assistant Texas attorney general. He said the Supreme Court ruled in 1969 that a radical political group that advocated violence could not be banned from a campus and that this precedent applied to the GSS.
“The court has held that as long as a group is there to advocate rather than act, then the group should be allowed on the campus,” said Wiseman.
He said A&M recognized an anti-gay organization at the same time it was denying recognition to the gays.
Wiseman said if groups are forbidden to
express their beliefs simply because those ideals are not acceptable to university officials then that has effectively “repealed the first amendment.”
The attorney said the controversy began because the GSS had wanted to post notices on a campus bulletin board and use campus rooms for meetings. This was denied them, he said, because the university would not give the GSS official recognition.
Texas Attorney General Jim Mattox declined to represent the university and private attorneys volunteered their time to handle the appeal.
GSS, which claims a membership of 30 to 70 among the student body of 35,000 students, has been meeting off campus. It has a phone number providing contacts for counseling and a roommate-location service.
IRVING (AP) - Officials of La Mancha home for retarded and emotionally disturbed boys say they don’t know what will happen to the residents if the center is forced to close.
After receiving Medicaid funds for seven years, the 14-bed La Mancha home was notified recently that it no longer qualifies for that type of funding.
‘ The real seriousness of this is that some of these clients do not have a home to go back to,” said Marilyn Kristovich, past chairwoman of the center’s citizens advisory committee on mental retardation. “They will be street people.”
La Mancha is the only public group home in the state for mentally retarded and emotionally disturbed boys ages 12 to 18. The center’s residents suffer serious, multiple problems.
Officials say they were surprised that the center suddenly became ineligible for federal funds.
Ellen Bruni, a local advocate for the retarded, said an investigation should be conducted into the ruling made by a state Department of Health inspector. “How come it fit for seven years?’’ Ms Bruni asked
Fairmount Hotel near destination
SAN ANTONIO (AP) - The Fairmount Hotel has moved one step closer to its final destination four blocks from the spot where it rested for the past 79 years.
The 3.2 million pound structure, believed to be the heaviest building ever moved, traversed a bridge and rounded a corner Monday.
The hotel, ousted from its original spot because of a developing downtown mall, still had about two blocks to go today on its journey.
Officials said plans are for the hotel to reach its final destination sometime today.
“I would say we’re on the down leg of this operation,” city public works director Frank Kiolbassa said at a news conference Monday.
Crossing the bridge, which spans the San Antonio River, was considered one of the most crucial points in the move.
But Kiolbassa said the feat went off without a hitch.
“It went very smoothly,” he said. “We’ve found no damage on the bridge nor was there any distress on the building.”
The bndge had been shored up with steel scaffolding and could have withstood more than 4 million pounds of pressure, said Cosmo Guido, whose construction company reinforced the bndge.
Kiolbassa called Guido a magician.
“We get more movement from a
dump truck. It (bridge) didn’t flex at all,’’he said.
The three-story brick hotel was muscled off its original site Saturday.
After more than two days of movement, Kiolbassa said the hotel “is in excellent condition. Nothing has moved. Nothing has shown any stress whatsoever,” he said.
The hotel spent the night Sunday on Market Street between a hotel and the San Antonio Convention Center.
The project failed to halt a gun show in the convention center Sunday and a National Petroleum Refiners Association meeting of 3,000, which continued Monday.
“Ifs such a spectacle, I haven't heard a grumble,” said Gyna Bivens, public information manager for the city.
Martha Wood, convention booking manager, said convention officials were having trouble keeping their delegates inside for meetings. Many were lining the streets watching the hotel go by.
The hotel, being transported by Emmert International of Portland. Ore., is believed to be the heaviest building ever moved.
Before the move began, the structure was jacked more than eight feet off the ground. Resting on layers of steel beams, the hotel is being moved on 36 hydraulic powered dollies.
Families—Funeral homes mistreat AIDS victims
DALLAS (AP) — The families of AIDS victims say their loved ones are being treated like lepers by funeral home officials afraid of being contaminated by the deadly disease.
One Dallas woman, identified only as Sarah, said that when her son died the funeral home refused to embalm his body, the Dallas Times Herald reported Monday.
“It was bad enough that my son was in the hospital for 49 days and I lost him, but the last straw was the funeral home,” she said. “That just hurt so bad I can hardly stand it. They acted like he was nasty. I think they were scared of him.”
Some Texas funeral homes, fearful of contamination, have refused to handle AIDS victims, industry officials told the Times Herald.
When 24-year-old James David Witherspoon died of AIDS, for example, his family was unable to find a Dallas funeral home to bury him. The child was finally taken unceremoniously from the hospital where he died to a cemetery for graveside services.
Other families of acquired immune deficiency syndrome victims say their grief is compounded by the treatment they receive from funeral homes reluctant to handle burials.
"Hell, many of those people < AIDS victimst are being treated worse than lepers,” said David Bohart, executive director of the National Funeral Home Association.
Though medical experts say embalming and full funeral services can be safely provided, some funeral homes place strict conditions on the burials, such as refusing to embalm
bodies or rejecting the wishes of families for open-casket services.
The complaints of families include allegations that some funeral homes have overcharged for services.What if?
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