LAS VEGAS - A 17-year-old letter with inflammatory remarks toward gays and lesbians could affect the race for Las Vegas Constable. The letter was allegedly written by former Nevada Assemblyman and current Constable candidate John Bonaventura.
The letter was apparently written in 1993 to a voter with regard to a bill aimed at repealing Nevada's sodomy laws. The laws targeted gay men by associating them with pedophilia and rape. In the letter, then-Assemblyman John Bonaventura allegedly wrote that he would "diligently work to not legalize perverted homosexual acts" and that he would protect children from "being exposed to this socially destructive behavior".
Outhistory.org posted the letter, and gay Republicans and Democrats are condemning Bonaventura.
"Any time you're holding a position that the voters elected you to when you're dealing with the public, you should not have the belief that he has, which is his personal belief, his personal agenda which is affecting his ability to do his job," said Mark Ciavola with the group Right Pride.
"I thought that Mr. Bonaventura was homophobic," added Chris Miller with Stonewall Democrats. "I was concerned that even though the letter is 17-years-old, he might still have those beliefs."
Bonaventura ignored multiple requests by 8 News NOW for an on-camera interview. But in an email, he wrote that he doesn't "recollect" the letter. He adds that the signature on the letter only has his first name and that he usually signs with his first and last name. He also says he would never have used such harsh language.
8 News NOW has uncovered evidence that reveals otherwise. In a 1994 Los Angeles Times article, a reporter wrote Bonaventura displayed a bumper sticker on his desk during heated debate that said "No rights for sodomites".
Legislative records also contain comments made by Bonaventura on the floor of the Assembly similar to the comments written in the letter posted online. On June 10, 1993, Bonaventura publicly told other lawmakers that "children needed to be protected from being exposed to socially disruptive activities".
"What he said was that he didn't want us to push our homosexual beliefs on to our children," Miller said. "That's disturbing, because that just perpetuates the myth that homosexuality is a choice."
Bonaventura insists that his interns or staffers might be to blame. He also says the letter is "phony" and "altered". Gay Democrats and Republicans aren't buying it and are concerned if Bonaventura is elected, he might create a homophobic environment.
"Everybody looks to their elected officials as leaders," Miller said. "When leaders perpetuate negativity and bigotry, that's a form of bullying."
Las Vegas Constable is a four-year position that works with the courts and police. The constable is primarily in charge of serving evictions, subpoenas, and civil complaints.