Thomson Professor of Government Harvey C. Mansfield, Jr. '53 testified yesterday in a Denver trial that homosexuality is "shameful" and that it "eventually...undermines civilization."
Mansfield was called as a witness to defend the Colorado state constitution's Amendment Two, which prevents cities from enacting gay-rights statutes. Six plaintiffs are challenging the constitutionality of the Colorado law.
His remarks will likely provoke reaction from Harvard's gay student community, said Dennis K. Lin '93-94, co-chair of the Bisexual, Gay and Lesbian Students Association.
"That remark is absolutely offensive and repulsive and we're ashamed he's a professor here," Lin said. "I think the University should look into this and react to this."
Lin said he would bring the question to the BGLSA meeting tomorrow and the Gay, Bisexual and Lesbian Leadership Council's meeting Thursday.
Professor of Philosophy Warren D. Goldfarb '69, who has been a vocal advocate for gay rights, said only that Mansfield's comments "speak for themselves."
Goldfarb said he would not press for any kind of action on the matter from the Harvard administration.
"It's not the University's concern,"
Mansfield testified that the amendment is "anattempt to remove the right of local majorities toexecute local anti-discrimination ordinances."
"It was an attempt to reduce the authority oflocal, fractious majorities," he said during thetrial.
But in cross-examination by Greg Eurich, alawyer for the plaintiffs, Mansfield gave hispersonal opinions on homosexuality and said "it isnot a life that makes for individual happiness."
"I don't think they are as happy as they mightbe," he said under cross-examination.
Defending himself against charges of anti-gayfeeling, Mansfield also said he acknowledges gays'contributions in the arts, according to James A.Henderson '79, who was in the audience for thecross-examination.
Henderson, a member of the Colorado Lesbian andGay Law Association, likened the comment to"saying Blacks had done a lot in basketball."
"I wasn't surprised that Mansfield wouldtestify," said Henderson, who took Government 10under the Harvard professor. "He could be viewedas a bigot in academic clothes."