Thirteen Years Later, Dallas County May Finally Get Back its Condom Sense
In the wake of this morning's news that Dallas County may, at long last, overturn its 13-year-old no-condom distribution policy due to the rise in number of AIDS and HIV cases, it's worth revisiting the ghosts of Christmas past. Because in April 1995, The New York Times came to town to question why Dallas County would quash its program allowing for the distribution of both condoms and needle sterilization kits -- especially when they had helped Dallas drop from No. 9 to No. 20 on the list of big cities reporting AIDS cases.
But in March 1995, state Rep. Jim Jackson, pictured above, was, among the Republican Dallas County Commissioners who voted to kill the HIV and AIDS prevention efforts in the county. In fact, it was Jackson, then trying to more or less take over the Commissioners Court, who proposed the distribution ban -- with the support of Ken Mayfield, who has made such a policy a campaign promise. Said Jackson to The Times: "Sodomy is still against the law in Texas. I hear people say the government shouldn't be in the bedroom. This isn't just happening in the bedroom. You can see used condoms in the parks." Then, as now, the only commissioner to fight the ban was John Wiley Price, who, in 1995, referred to the policy was "a right-wing agenda that's being forced upon the citizens of this county, and that's unfortunate." Also opposed to the 13-year-old policy: Schutze's new idol, Dallas County Judge Jim Foster. --Robert Wilonsky