Saturday, October 09, 2004
Pa. state Senate debate turns ugly
HARRISBURG, Pa. -- A debate in the usually sedate state Senate chamber dissolved into mudslinging, with a senior Democrat using a derogatory term for homosexuals to denounce a Republican leader.
Republican President Pro Tempore Robert C. Jubelirer on Thursday demanded an apology, and Democratic Sen. Vincent C. Fumo later admitted to "a very unfortunate word choice."
The name-calling erupted Wednesday night during a debate on a slot machine gambling bill passed last July.
"He called me a faggot," Jubelirer related Thursday. "And then I said, 'What did you say?' and he screamed it. If he has an issue with me, that's fine. But to use that term, 'faggot,' to me was a black mark, not only on him but the institution."
No video cameras captured the tirade. But Radio Pennsylvania reporter Ray Smith heard it. "Sen. Fumo used the epithet four times that I counted," he said.
Smith said the shock on lawmakers' faces was obvious.