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Jon Clifton Hinson (March 16, 1942 – July 21, 1995) was a politician from the state of Mississippimarker.

Early life

Hinson was born in Tylertown, Mississippimarker, and he graduated from the University of Mississippimarker in Oxfordmarker. Hinson was an aide to Representatives Charles H. Griffin, a Democrat, and Thad Cochran, a Republican.

Career

Congressman Cochran chose not to run for re-election to Congress in order to run for the United States Senate. Hinson was elected to succeed his boss, winning with 51.6% of the vote. Hinson defeated John Hampton Stennis, the son of Senator John Stennis. Stennis won 26.4% and the rest went to independent candidates.

Controversy

During his re-election campaign in 1980, Hinson admitted that in 1976, while an aide to Cochran, he had been arrested for committing an obscene act, exposing himself to an undercover policeman, at the Iwo Jimamarker Memorial in Arlington National Cemeterymarker. Hinson denied that he was homosexual and blamed his problems on alcoholism. He said that he had reformed and refused to yield to demands that he resign. He won re-election with 38.97% of the vote, as independent candidate Leslie McLemore won 29.8% and Democrat Britt Singletary won 29.4% of the vote.

Hinson, who was married to Cynthia Hinson, was again arrested on February 5, 1981, and was charged with attempted oral sodomy for performing oral sex on an African-American male employee of the Library of Congressmarker in a restroom of the House of Representatives. He was later charged with sodomy. At the time, the charge was a felony that could have resulted in up to 10 years in prison as well as fines of up to $10,000. Since both parties were consenting adults, the charge was reduced to a misdemeanor as per policy of the United States Attorney's office. Facing a maximum penalty of one year in prison and a $1,000 fine, Hinson pleaded not guilty to a charge of attempted sodomy the following day and was released without bail pending a trial scheduled for May 4, 1981. Soon thereafter, he voluntarily admitted himself to a Washington area hospital for treatment.

Resignation and later life

He resigned on April 13, 1981, early in his second term. He said that his resignation had been "the most painful and difficult decision of my life." He was succeeded in Congress by Wayne Dowdy, a Democrat, who won the special election held in the summer of 1981.

Soon afterwards, he acknowledged that he was gay. His marriage ended, and he became an activist for gay rights.

He later helped to organize the lobbying group "Virginians for Justice" and fought against the ban on gays in the military. He also was a founding member of the Fairfax Lesbian and Gay Citizens Association in Fairfax Countymarker.

He never returned to Mississippi but lived quietly in the Washington area, first in Alexandria, Virginiamarker, and then Silver Spring, Marylandmarker.

Hinson also disclosed that he survived a 1977 fire that killed nine people at the Cinema Follies, a Washington theater that catered to a gay clientèle. He was rescued from under a pile of bodies -- one of only four men who survived.

Death

Hinson died of respiratory failure resulting from AIDS in Silver Spring at the age of 53.

Hinson's body was cremated, and the ashes were buried in Tylertown, Mississippimarker after a private service. Hinson, by then divorced, was survived by a brother, Robert Hinson, in Gulfport, Mississippimarker.

References



Others with no links: "Hinson, Facing a Morals Charge, Shuns Clamor to Quit Congress," New York Times, Mar. 9, 1981, A18; AP, "Jon Hinson Dies at 53," July 25, 1995; Art Harris, "Hinson's Memory Haunts His Mississippi District," Washington Post, June 17, 1981.

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