From the Bondings archive:
1991: “The Murder of Paul Broussard”
In 1991, the gay-bashing death of a young Houston banker sparked a strong reaction from the local Catholic bishop in which he stated that to hate homosexuals “is to offend God.”
Paul Broussard was brutally beaten by ten youths–nine of whom were high school students–when he and his friends were leaving a nightclub in the Montrose section of Houston, known as a gay neighborhood, in the early morning hours of July 4, 1991. Broussard was just blocks away from his home. He was fatally stabbed twice during the attack.
First responders were slow to arrive at the scene, which was seen as a common practice for incidents in the Montrose neighborhood at that time because of fear of the AIDS virus. The medical examiner indicated that “delay in treatment” was a cause of Broussard’s death. In the days that followed, the city’s police chief declared that he had no intention of solving the crime, sparking days of protest marches at the mayor’s home by the gay community. The protests went on to become the largest gay rights demonstration in Houston’s history. Eventually, the attackers were apprehended and plea bargained to receive prison time.
On August 9th of that year, in the midst of all this turmoil, Houston’s Bishop Joseph Fiorenza took the unprecedented step of speaking out to condemn the brutality of this attack. No bishop had ever spoken up against a gay bashing in such a public way. In a column in The Texas Catholic Herald entitled “The Death of Paul Broussard,” Fiorenza stated: