The gay man the governor has nominated to serve on the State Board of Education told senators his sexual orientation should be a non-issue. During an hour-long statehouse forum yesterday afternoon, senators repeatedly asked Jonathan Wilson if he would promote a “gay agenda.”Wilsons’ response was “absolutely not.” Wilson, who is real estate attorney in Des Moines, was once married and is the father of two grown children. Wilson says he is “not a gay Iowan by any lack of effort, wish, hope, prayer and trying to be otherwise.” Wilson says he would not recommend the gay lifestyle for people who are not gay. Some republican senators say they are unwilling to vote to confirm Wilson for the seat on the Board of Education because he is a gay activist. Wilson says he “is not a closeted gay man, so in some people’s eyes that makes (him) an activist.” He says it’s really a non-issue for him and he says it ought to be a non-issue because he says it’s nobody’s business what his or anyone else’s sexual orientation is. Wilson says it’s embarrassing “to keep talking about it out in public.” Wilson served on the Des Moines School Board for 12 years, and was on the board when, about 10 years ago, a committee of district staff members started writing a nondiscrimination curriculum that called for teaching tolerance toward homosexuals. Wilson says he’s “frustrated, still, to this day” to defend that curriculum proposal because no board member — including himself — had a hand in developing it. Wilson says he did what he calls a “public coming out exercise” as the controversy about the policy raged. G-O-P leaders in the Senate say Wilson lacks the 34 “yes” votes from senators which means he will not be able to serve on the Board of Education.
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