A state lawmaker in Maine is having a hard election season after some comments he made about rape decades ago resurfaced. "If a woman has the right to abortion, why shouldn't a man be free to use his superior strength to force himself on a woman?" asked Rep. Larry Lockman (R-Amherst) in 1990. Now that phrase features prominently in a new anti-Lockman mailing from the Maine Democatic Party.
Apparently Lockman's political career has been dotted with controversial commentary. In February, Bangor Daily News writer Mike Tipping noted that Lockman—a first-term representative who has "quickly established himself as a vocal leader" of the Maine GOP's tea party wing—was once active in campaigning against income taxes but switched focus in the mid-1980s to HIV fearmongering and denouncing gay men. In one 1987 letter to the Lewiston Sun Journal, Lockman wrote:
In the overwhelming majority of cases, people are dying because of their addiction to sodomy. They are dying because progressive, enlightened, tolerant people in politics and in medicine have assured the public that the practice of sodomy is a legitimate alternative lifestyle, rather than a perverted, depraved crime against humanity.
He also called anal sex "biologically-insane" and the "normalization of homosexuality" one of the most pressing moral issues of our time. In the early 1990s, Lockman became highly concerned with protesting abortion. A letter-to-the-editor of the Lewiston Sun Journal quotes Lockman saying the following:
If a woman has (the right to 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.
A woman's bodily autonomy comes second to either an embryo's or a man's claims on it, but certainly somebody other than the woman herself has a right to it, of that much Lockman is certain! (And can we just pause to recognize the utter creepiness of the phrase "the rapist's pursuit of sexual freedom"?)
After the Bangor Daily News column came out, Lockman released a statment saying "I have always been passionate about my beliefs, and years ago I said things that I regret. … today I am focused on ensuring freedom and economic prosperity for all Mainers."