White House counsel comes under fire for remarks

November 10, 1990|By John W. Mashek | John W. Mashek,Boston Globe

WASHINGTON -- White House counsel C. Boyden Gray may have brought the White House a problem with gay rights and civil liberties organizations with the disclosure of a speech last week in which he used the word "fag" and referred to former Rhode Island Representative Fernand St Germain as "a real crook." Mr. St Germain, a Democrat, has not been charged with or indicted for any crime.

Mr. Gray, a Harvard-educated lawyer from North Carolina, made the comments Nov. 1 to about 35 members of the Montgomery County Republican Club in Chevy Chase.

Ira Allen, managing editor of the Bethesda Gazette, a weekly suburban paper, was in the audience to cover the speech. Mr. Allen said he did not tape Mr. Gray's remarks but took notes and called the counsel later about his remark. During that conversation, he said, Mr. Gray once again made a reference to "fag."

Mr. Allen, a former reporter for United Press International in Washington, said that no Republican at the meeting raised any objection or remarked negatively when Mr. Gray made his reference to gays and Mr. St Germain. A White House spokesman said that Mr. Gray would have no comment on the matter.

Robert Bray, spokesman for the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, interviewed by telephone in Minneapolis, said that Mr. Gray's language was "a shocking message that it is OK to stigmatize gay

people. I think anti-gay defamation by a senior White House official is counterproductive to the message of diversity and inclusion by President Bush."

During a question-and-answer session with the audience, Mr. Gray charged that former House Speaker Jim Wright sought to VTC undermine Edwin Gray (no relation), then head of the Federal Home Loan Bank Board, "by spreading rumors that one of his examiners was a fag."

Then, in a comment blaming Democrats for the S&L crisis, he said that Mr. St Germain, formerly chairman of the House Banking Committee, was "a real crook."

Mr. St Germain was defeated for re-election in 1988. Efforts to reach him at his home in Newport were unsuccessful.

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