Not a Lott of Tolerance

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WASHINGTON: The Senate is in an uproar over Trent Lott's comments Monday that homosexuality, far from being biological, "is a problem... just like alcohol." But don't expect Lott to recant.

"This is Republican orthodoxy and it's certainly not going to cost him any votes at home," says TIME congressional correspondent John Dickerson. "But the Democrats are taking their shots." Gay rights groups are understandably indignant. And Minnesota Sen. Paul Wellstone, a Democrat, wants to use the furor to break the deadlock over the nomination of James Hormel -- an openly gay San Francisco philanthopist -- who was tapped to be ambassador to Luxembourg. Sensing a way to make points with the GOP's right wing, Lott has kept Hormel's nomination tied up for a year. But Wellstone's initiative notwithstanding, Dickerson says Hormel is no closer to Luxembourg. "Lott promised that he'd sit on the nomination, and that's what he'll do," says Dickerson. It's good to be the Majority Leader.