Judge's Remarks About Homosexuals Drawing Fire From Gay Rights Groups

A gay rights group has filed a complaint with the state against a South Mississippi judge for saying homosexuals should be put in mental institutions.

George County Justice Court Judge Connie Wilkerson wrote that in a letter to the editor of the George County Times. Judge Wilkerson's was responding to a news story about a California law that grants gay and lesbian partners the same rights as married couples.

"In my opinion, gays and lesbians should be put in some type of a mental institution instead of having a law like this passed for them," the letter read.

The gay rights organization "Equality Mississippi" has filed a formal complaint against Wilkerson and may pursue legal action. Jody Renaldo is a member of that organization.

"Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but there's a line that you just do not cross, especially when you're holding a judicial position," Renaldo said. "Because we pay his salary to sit on that bench, I think we deserve a little more respect that what he's giving us."

In his letter, judge Wilkerson writes, "You need to know as I know, that God in heaven is not pleased with this, and I am sounding the alarm."

Wilkerson was supposed to be at judicial conference in Jackson this week, but he never responded to our phone calls. Other judges at the conference didn't want to directly criticize Wilkerson for judging homosexuals.

"According to God's word in the Bible it is wrong. He says judge not, lest ye be judged. And so consequently, I will not judge anyone on their lifestyle," Tunica County Judge Ted Emanuel said.

"I don't think you can legislate morality. I believe legislatures across the country have tried it time and again. It's just not going to work," Judge Ellis Darby, also from Tunica County, said.

Gay rights supporters say justice won't work with someone on the bench who can't treat everyone fairly. That's why Jody Renaldo's group plans to watch Judge Wilkerson and how the judicial review committee handles their complaint.