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Students picket anti-gay protesters

Photo: Chris Salata/The Chicago Maroon
Wayne Lela of Heterosexuals Organized for a Moral Environment debates first-year student Aiva Ievins after distributing fliers criticizing homosexual behavior and pro-gay rhetoric.

A small group of students formed an impromptu protest against the efforts of Heterosexuals Organized for a Moral Environment (HOME) members yesterday afternoon in front of Hull Gate.

Two members of the organization, which is based in Downers Grove, Illinois, caught the attention of gay rights supporters as they handed out flyers to passing students, alleging pro-gay agenda bias in the media and denouncing homosexual behavior. The HOME members alleged that a media conspiracy to support a homosexual agenda infringed on their right to free speech.

“If the media was doing its job, I wouldn’t be out here,” said HOME activist Wayne Lela, adding that several of his letters to editors of media outlets have not been published due to what he believed was their support of the gay agenda. “There’s censorship on this issue,” he said.

Jarrett Fowler, a first-year student who is gay, was one of the 15 students who picketed the HOME members, both for their free-speech argument and their criticism of homosexuality. “It’s just propaganda and bigotry in its worst form,” Fowler said, holding a poster that read, “I am not a risk to free speech.” Fowler said he was particularly offended by HOME’s claim that “homophobia does not exist but that heterophobia does exist.”

Fowler said HOME members gave him a flyer on his way to lunch, leading him to quickly round up friends to form a protest. He and other supporters went to the Reynolds Club to make posters and then engaged the HOME activists as they passed out flyers.

The heated debate between the two groups evolved into a discussion about biology, evolution, nature and nurture, morality, and ancient Greek philosophy.

“There is a ton of evidence that heterosexuality is biologically based,” Lela said. “Is this school educating you at all?”

“The pamphlet is intellectually dubious,” said second-year Ryan Kaminski, holding a poster reading “Expel bigotry on campus.”

In further discussions, Lela said he does not oppose people who are gay but opposes gay sex.

“Biology 101: The penis was designed for the vagina. And the vagina was designed for the penis,” Lela said. “Homosexual activity is unnatural, based on biology.”

The HOME members left after about an hour, but not before first-year student and Queers and Associates member David Klein extended an invitation for Lela to return and speak to the campus group.

“We love to exchange ideas,” Lela said.