Utah's State Bird Comes Out of the Closet
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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Tue, 27 May 97 13:29:58 -0700
Subject: Utah's State Bird Comes Out of the Closet
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Utah's State Bird Comes Out of Closet
-- by Lee Siegel
THE SALT LAKE TRIBUNE
In a state where the gay rights debate is contentious, here's a
surprise: Utah's state bird -- the California gull -- sometimes is
homosexual, according to a Utah State University researcher.
During two decades of research, Michael Conover found that when males
are scarce, up to 2 percent of female California gulls get inseminated by
males who already have mates, then court females to share nests as well as
chick-raising and hunting duties. Scientific papers call such couples
The gull's same-sex pairing is ironic because many Utahns, invoking
biblical injunctions, call homosexuality an "abomination."
Gayle Ruzicka, president of the conservative Eagle Forum, said: "Two
birds living together who help each other baby-sit their children -- like
two single mothers living together -- doesn't constitute gay." Told that
female gulls mount each other, Ruzicka said: "My question is, who has been
doing all this bird-watching?"
Utah gay activist David Nelson predicted: "We may see an increase in
seagull-bashing." If so, the American Civil Liberties Union won't help.
"We don't do birds," said director Carol Gnade.
© 1997 Peter Langston