Politics

Alabama congressional candidate has long history of comments on gays

Dean Young was quoted in the Birmingham News in 1997 saying, “To the homosexuals who will not change, you are not welcome here in Etowah County or in the State of Alabama.”

Sixteen years later, Young is running in a special election to fill an open U.S. House seat in Alabama.

Asked about that quote by The Daily Caller on Friday, Young disputed that he ever said it: “First of all, don’t believe everything you read in the newspaper.”

“Homosexuality is wrong today,” Young told TheDC. “It was wrong yesterday. And it will be wrong tomorrow. I disagree with the homosexual lifestyle as you can tell, but all people are welcome in the United States. I never said people aren’t welcome.”

After placing second in the GOP primary held on Tuesday, Young is set to battle former Alabama gubernatorial candidate and state legislator Bradley Byrne in a November run-off. The winner of that contest is expected to easily win the general election and become the next congressman of this heavily Republican district.

“We’ve got a problem in this country where they’re trying to redefine the word marriage,” Young said Friday. “And marriage is between one man and one woman. And it always has been and it always will be. Anything other than that is pretending. And it doesn’t matter what five people on the Supreme Court say. They can’t just redefine what’s been true for thousands of years.”

Those are hardly controversial political views to have in Alabama. But Young’s past comments about gays make the Orange Beach businessman different from other Republican candidates in the state.

It’s not hard to find news clips dating back to the 1990s detailing Young’s strong anti-gay views. As executive director of the Christian Family Association, Young was often quoted in support of Roy Moore, the “ten commandments judge,” who Young once worked for.

Moore was removed from his position as chief justice in 2003 for refusing to move a Ten Commandments monument from the state’s judicial building. He has since been re-elected to the office and is supportive of Young’s candidacy.

During a July 30, 1996 courthouse rally in support of Moore, the Associated Press reported that Young said of gays: “Either you get your lives straight or you get back in the closet where you came from.”