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John's Committee

John's Committee

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Published by: srothaus on Aug 21, 2012
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07/10/2013

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Intro
ThelastlivingmemberofoneofthedarkestmomentsinFloridastatehistoryisstilllegislatingonanationalleveltoday.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
andwidelyknownasthe“PurplePamphlet.”WhiletheCommittee’srecordsweresealeduntil2038butopened1993,the“PurplePamphlet”andphotographicevidencearestill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.
John’sCommitteeActivity
TheJohnsCommitteewasformedin1956withtheintenttoinvestigateandeliminateCommunistsinStateagencies.By1957thecommitteereportedthatitbelievedtheCommunistpartyhadinfiltratedtheNAACP.ItrequestedtheNAACP’smemberlists,whichledtoatwo-yearlegalbattle.When,in1957,theUSSupremeCourtdeniedthecommittee’srequest,theCommitteeturnedfocustothe“subversive”homosexualcommunity.Thisbegana7-yearpurgeofFSU,USF,UFandotherstateorganizations.In1959theJohn’sCommitteeclaimeditsfirstvictimswhentheyforced16facultyandstafffromtheUniversityofFlorida.TheCommitteehiredformerFBIagent,WilliamTanner,toactasFSUsecurityguardtosearchforandweedoutsuspectedhomosexualsattheUniversity.Toentrapsuspectedhomosexuals,hewouldthrowlavishpartiesandhaveinformantssecretlytapeparticipants."Itwas,I'vegotapartyI'dlikeyoutoattend,orI'dlikeyoutogooutanddoalittletrolling,"ChiefWilliamTannersaidina1991interviewwithTheMiamiHerald.Aftertheparty,theparticipantswouldbeinterrogatedandeitherexpelledorfired.Similarly,otherinformantswereemployedtocompilelistsofnamestobeavailabletootherstatewideorganizations.John’sCommitteeinformantswereoftengaysandlesbianswhowerecoercedintocollusionbythreatofpublicexposureorreducedcriminalsentencesonothercharges.Theseinformantswereusedtolureunsuspectingindividualstolocationswhere,onceexposed,theywouldbephotographedandthatevidencewouldbeusedagainstthem.
 
Thesemethodsweresosuccessfulthataclimateoffeargrewoverthecampusesofthethen3stateuniversities,UniversityofFlorida,FloridaStateUniversityandthenewlycreatedUniversityofSouthFlorida.Thisfearcausedonegayprofessorwitha27-yeartenuretopurchaseandconsumealethaldoseofaspirinafterlosinghisposition.Hesurvivedhissuicideattemptandcameforwardtotellhisstoryin1991.PublicationsTheCommitteepublishedpamphlettitled
HomosexualityandCitizenshipinFlorida
isalsoreferredtoasthe“PurplePamphlet”becauseofthecolorofitscoverandinreferencetotheLavenderMenace.Thedetailedreportintendedtoscareandincitethepublicandintimidateandharmhomosexuals."Ourreporttriedtoshowit(homo-sexuality)initstruelight-it'saveryrepulsivesubject,"Youngsaidin1964onthereleaseofthe‘PurplePamphlet’.”Thebrashandhatefulreportincludedexplicitphotosofmeninbondageandchildpornography.Thescathingreportbeginswithdescriptionofthe“problemhomosexualityposesforsociety”andcontinueswithestimatesofthehomosexualpopulation,aviewinto“gay”society,anecdotesofpropagandabasedinfearinsteadofscienceorfactandthefinaltitle“WhattodoAboutHomosexuality”.Aglossaryoftermsanddescriptionsusedofandbyhomosexualsisincludedintheappendixandforthetimescouldbeconsideredanythingbutobscene.Thepamphletwasdistributedtothepublicfor25centsuntiltheoutrageoveritscontentsforcedthecommitteetoendcirculation.While,thecommitteehadreliedonthepublic’ssupportorblindeyetodotheirdirtyworkinFlorida’suniversities,thepamphletwenttofar.Thepublicsawthepamphletasobsceneandthemediacalledin“state-sponsoredpornography”.Lawmakersabruptlydiscontinuedfunding.DespiteSen.John’squittingtheCommittee,YoungandfourothermemberscontinuedtheworkoftheCommittee.In1965theypublishedareporttitled,“RacialandCivilDisordersinSt.Augustine”.Young’swanderingstatementsandinvolvementC.W.BillYoungofficiallyservedontheFloridaLegislativeInvestigativeCommitteeorJohn’sCommitteefrom1962to1965.HisinvolvementinthecommitteeanditsmissioncanclearlybeseeninthephotographsoftheCommittee’shearingsandmeetings,hiscontributionstotheCommittee’sreportsandinhispublicstatementswhilethecommitteewasactive."Thisindicateshowboldthehomosexualisbecomingandfurtherprovesthenecessityofstategovernmenttakingtheleadinresponsibilityforpreventingtheseconfirmedhomosexualsfrompreyingontheyouthofthestate,"Youngsaidwhenaskedaboutthedistributionofthe“PurplePamphlet”aspornographyin1964.
 
Yet,whenquestioned30yearsafterthedissolutionofthecommittee,Youngattemptstodownplayhisinvolvement."Iwasnotamajorpartofthatcommittee,"Youngsaidin1993,aftertherecordshadbeenunsealed,whenaskedabouthisinvolvement."Icameonthecommitteeinitsclosingdays."ThetruthisthatYoungservedattheheightoftheJohn’sCommitteeduringitsmostactiveassaultonhomosexuals.InthethreeyearspriortoYoungjoiningtheCommittee,16educatorswereremoved.However,duringhistenurethatnumberroseto110withatleast200–250educatorsandstudentsquestionedandshamedandblackmailed.
ContinuedpatternofhateVotedinSupportoftheDefenseofMarriageAct
In2011,YoungvotedtosupporttheDefenseofMarriageAct.TheamendmenttotheDefenseAppropriationsbillbannedtheuseofanyfundstobeusedinviolationoftheDefenseofMarriageAct.ThisvotewaslargelysymbolicandwasintendedtoshowsupportfortheDefenseofMarriageActaccordingtotheauthoroftheamendment.[LosAngelesTimes,7/09/11;TheHill,7/07/11]Theamendmentpassed248-175.[HR2219,Vote#516,7/07/11]
 
VotedtoDelaytheRepealofDon’tAsk,Don’tTell
In2011,YoungvotedtodelaytherepealofDon’tAsk,Don’tTell.TheFY2012DefenseAuthorizationbillcontainedanumberofpolicyridersincludingonewhichchangedtheprocessfortherepealofDon’tAsk,Don’tTellwhichbanshomosexualsfromservingopenlyinthemilitary.Undertherider,whichwasincludedinthebill,therepealwouldbedelayeduntiltheArmy,AirForce,Navy,andMarinechiefscouldcertifythattherepealwouldn’tharmtheirunits’“readiness,effectiveness,cohesion,andmorale.”[WallStreetJournalBlog-WashingtonWire,5/12/11;CQBillAnalysisHR1540,7/04/11]Thebillpassed322-96.[HR1540,Vote#375,5/26/11]
 
VotedAgainstRepealing“Don’tAsk,Don’tTell”Policy
In2010,Youngvotedagainstrepealingthemilitary’s“don’task,don’ttell”policy,prohibitingmilitaryservicebyopenlygaymenandwomen.Themeasurewouldrequireasubmissionsignedbythepresident,secretaryofDefense,andthe

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