Lawrence Lockman Sorry He Called Rape 'Pursuit Of Sexual Freedom' That Should Be Legal

Jonathan Vankin

Lawrence Lockman, a Republican state rep in Maine who is known as one of the most conservative members of that state's legislature, has finally expressed regret for comments he made in 1990 in which he described rape as "pursuit of sexual freedom" and said the crime should be legal.

There were a number of past comments made by Lockman that surfaced in a report in the Bangor Daily News earlier this week, covered by the GOP lawmaker's blanket apology.

"I have always been passionate about my beliefs, and years ago I said things that I regret," Lockman, a favorite of Maine's far-right Tea Party faction, said in a statement Wednesday. "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, serving his first term in Maine's state legislature, has already made a reputation for his unwavering support of Maine's conservative governor Paul LePage and for his attacks on Maine's Democratic House Speaker Mark Eves.

Beginning his public involvement in politics as a tax protester, Lawrence Lockman refused to pay income tax, arguing that collection of the tax by the federal government was unconstitutional. In 1983 a federal court ordered Lockman to pay $17,000 in taxes that he claimed the government had no right to collect.

He soon moved on to a fight against gay rights and opposing the rights of people who test positive for the HIV virus.

He claimed falsely that AIDS could be spread by mosquitos and bedsheets and said that people who die of the disease are actually victims of "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."

It was when Lawrence Lockman was director of anti-abortion group The Pro Life Education Association in 1990 that he argued that rape should be be legal — because abortion is also legal.

"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?" Lockman wondered aloud. "At least the rapist's pursuit of sexual freedom doesn't (in most cases) result in anyone's death."

When Lockman's history of bizarre and offensive statements was compiled in the Bangor paper on Tuesday, some Democrats called for his resignation and other Maine Republicans tried to put some daylight between themselves and the Lawrence Lockman train wreck.

"I do not condone these or any statements that are intentionally hurtful toward others on account of race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation," said the state's House Republican Leader Kenneth Fredette.

But House Speaker Eves dismissed calls for the resignation of Lawrence Lockman, saying that his political future is "for those that elected Rep. Lockman to decide."

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