The widow of the late congressman, CW Bill Young is defending her husband's memory against a petition circulating at the University of South Florida.
A group called Tampa Bay Students for a Democratic Society is calling for Young's name to be stripped from the ROTC building on campus. They point to Young's past with an anti-gay group in Florida.
"That was back in the early 1960s. I never once heard him talk about that committee. It's probably something he was just appointed to,” said Beverly Young. "It is hurtful to see his name being dragged through the mud by people who don't know anything about him."
In the early 1960s when Rep. Young was a state senator, he was on the John's Committee that tried to keep gays out of government and university life.
The petition says, "For a university that serves innumerable LGBTQ students, staff and faculty, the name of this building is not only inappropriate, it's reprehensible."
Young calls the petition "sad" and dishonoring to her husband's legacy of serving the military. She says the congressman never had any problems with gay people.
"I have gay people in my family. He had gay people in his. We went to one of the first legal gay weddings in New York City for Bill's friends. He worked for men in the military, women in the military and gays in the military. He nominated many gay kids to academies like West Point," she said.
The University issued a statement, saying they have no intention of taking Young's name off the building. They said the "John's Committee" was a dark part of Florida's history, but it represented a different era. They credited the late congressman with helping turn USF into a world-class University.