Neil Parrott, the Republican running for the Maryland House of Delegates in my district (2B), wrote a letter to the Herald-Mail five years ago in which he proposed that those who test positive for the Human Immunodeficiency Virus should be tattooed to identify themselves as HIV-positive.
Thanks to YouTube user marschnerj for pointing me to this. From the Parrott letter:
It is time to take the threat of HIV seriously. A compassionate and serious solution must preserve the dignity of those infected while truly helping to prevent the spread of the disease in an effective way.
One such solution is a tattoo for those who are infected. This mark could be inconspicuously placed, perhaps in a spot covered by a bathing suit, warning only those who might engage in intimate encounters with the infected person.
An effective way to enforce the consistency of the tattoo would be to provide medicine to the infected individual only after they have received the HIV tattoo.
The tattoo in no way is a solution on its own. The real solution is for sex to be esteemed more highly, so that it is only practiced within marriage. Abstinence-only education sends a clear signal to students about what is expected, without mixing messages.
Nevermind that this twisted proposal is anything but compassionate — Neil Parrott has been running on a platform of lower taxes, decreased spending, smaller, less intrusive government, and individual liberty. How then can he also support compelling HIV patients to accept a tattoo identifying themselves by denying them life-saving medication until they do?
The answer is that Parrott is an anti-gay bigot whose attitude about human sexuality in general is informed by his backward and simple-minded form of Christianity. He claims to cherish privacy and individual freedom, yet has very strong opinions about the sex lives of total strangers — how they should have sex, and with whom — and sees nothing wrong with withholding medicine from sick people unless they allow themselves to be branded.
According to the letter written by Parrott, 238 Washington County residents in 2005 were HIV-positive. The total population of the county is around 145,000. That means HIV patients account for approximately 0.16% of the total population. Neil Parrott called this an epidemic, which suggests that he is not only a bigot and a hypocrite, but also hysterical and misinformed.
Read the entire 2005 Letter to the Editor from Neil Parrott at the Herald-Mail website.