Monday, April 26, 2004

Log Cabin group honors Madeira grad


Inside Washington

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Madeira native Grant Turck is a Christian, a Republican, and a sophomore at California's Pepperdine University, which describes itself as a "Christian university committed to ... Christian values."

Turck is also openly gay.

"I had three roommates move out because I was gay. The university supported that," Turck said. "They moved out on the basis of their fear and misunderstandings of homosexuals. That kind of inspired me to seek to draw attention to the real issue, which is homophobia."

So Turck tried to form a group at Pepperdine called "Students Against Homophobia." So far, the university has refused to recognize it.

But for his troubles, Turck on April 18 won the 2004 Youth Leadership Award from Log Cabin Republicans at the group's national convention in Palm Springs, Calif. It represents gay Republicans.

The son of Lauris and Marsha Turck of Madeira, Grant Turck caused a stir at Madeira High School when he started the school's first Gay-Straight Alliance. Now he's done the same at Pepperdine.

Lauris Turck, a vice president at Fifth Third Bank and the guy who pays his son's tuition, said he was proud of his son and said Pepperdine would be wise to allow the group.

"It is a religious university. I suppose inasmuch as it's a private college, it's their prerogative not to recognize it. But recognizing it would be a positive for the university and memorialize what they speak about," he said.

The young Turck said he remains mystified at Pepperdine's refusal to recognize his group, and the university president's suggestion that the group was inconsistent with the school's Christian values.

"What, I must ask, is un-Christian about speaking out against homophobia?" Turck said in his speech. "We need to talk about homophobia. We need to talk about institutional homophobia. For the sake of those who suffer in silence, we need this subject out in the open."

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VEEPLESS IN OHIO: With Ohio the must-win state of this election, one way John Kerry could win the state is with an Ohio running mate.

Unfortunately for Democrats, the political daily newsletter The Hotline lists 60 mentioned candidates - and not a single one from Ohio, the nation's seventh most populous state.

The closest to Ohio on the list are Sen. Evan Bayh of Indiana, considered a genuine prospect; Gov. Ed Rendell of neighboring Pennsylvania; and Sen. Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia, which would make it the wealthiest ticket ever.

And if this counts: Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, daughter of former Ohio Gov. John Gilligan.

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THEY SAID IT: "I find that question incredibly insulting. You know I'm a leader in my own right. I don't think anybody would ask a husband whose wife had a leadership position as to whether she influenced him. I'm just astonished at that question." --Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao, after a reporter asked whether she had received any advice on new overtime regulations from her husband, Sen. Mitch McConnell, the No. 2 Republican in the Senate.

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Carl Weiser covers Washington news for the Enquirer. E-mail cweiser@gannett.com or call (202) 906-8134.




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