Republican lawmaker Lawrence Lockman of Maine, who was outed by blogger Mike Tipping for a series of past controversial statements regarding homosexuality, rape and abortion, issued an apology for those ill-considered words this week. Lockman, in a statement, said that he now regrets the comments.
From the statement, as reported by the Morning Sentinel on Feb. 28: “I have always been passionate about my beliefs, and years ago I said things that I regret. I hold no animosity toward anyone by virtue of their gender or sexual orientation, and today I am focused on ensuring freedom and economic prosperity for all Mainers.”
Lockman had come under fire from the Maine Democratic Party for his past stances on gays, abortion, and rape, comments compiled by Tipping that dated back to the 1980s. But he says he no longer "condones" those views.
“I do not condone these or any statements that are intentionally hurtful toward others on account of race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation,” he wrote in the statement.
The list of comments, from describing the I. R. S. as having a "vampire nature" and the tax collection method as "police state" to making remarks insisting that HIV/AIDS could be spread via sheets and mosquitoes, prompted Maine Democratic Chairman Ben Grant to call for such a "disturbed individual" with "abhorrent beliefs" to resign.
Particularly troubling to many were Lockman's 1995 comments in a letter penned to the Lewiston Sun Journal regarding abortion. Speaking as a member of the Pro Life Education Association, he wrote, “If a woman has (the right to an abortion), why shouldn’t a man be free to use his superior strength to force himself on a woman? At least the rapist’s pursuit of sexual freedom doesn’t (in most cases) result in anyone’s death.”
Following Lawrence Lockman's apology, House Speaker Mark Eves, who Lockman had accused of conflict of interest in with regard to Medicaid expansion in Maine (an advisory ruling found no conflict this week), found the Republican lawmaker's comments "alarming" but didn't call for his resignation. Instead, he chose to leave Lockman's fate to the voters.
“From my perspective, what I’ve seen is that Rep. Lockman is a very extreme individual that says really extreme things ...” Eves said during a press conference Wednesday. “I think it’s for those that elected Rep. Lockman to decide (his fate). People of Maine do not tolerate those types of things. ... You’re talking about comments that are really out of character ... for any elected official to be saying.”
Lockman now joins the ranks of Republicans like former Missouri congressman Todd Akin, who famously stated that women who were victims of "legitimate rape" had physiological "ways to try to shut that whole thing [pregnancy] down" and former Republican U. S. Senate candidate (Ind.) Richard Mourdock, who stated that if a pregnancy occurred as a result of rape, it was "something that God intended to happen."
Neither of the men won in 2012.