WASHINGTON, DC—Sen. Strom Thurmond (R-SC), widely known for his conservative views, retooled his hard-line stance against homosexuality after a casual one-nighter last weekend with a D.C.-area man identified only as "Stan."

Sen. Strom Thurmond (R-SC), long known for his opposition to "wicked, homosexual perverts," has rethought his stance in the wake of a recent romantic encounter.

Thurmond, 93, first elected to Congress in 1956 on a segregationist platform, described the homoerotic rendezvous as "a remarkably loving and mutually rewarding exchange of affection between two consenting adults."

"I was mistaken when I said that homosexuals were perverts bent on the destruction of the family and the nation through their wicked, deviant sex acts," a visibly glowing Thurmond told reporters. "Stan respected me for who I was, not just for my body. He was a sharp dresser and a charming conversationalist, not to mention a considerate and attentive lover."

"To all my longtime constituents," Thurmond continued, "I want to stress that this sexual episode was neither planned nor expected. I was heading home from my senate office after working late on a revised defense budget, when I was approached by a tall, handsome man who asked if he could buy me a drink. We had a wonderful conversation about old Judy Garland movies, the sort I used to love back when I was in my mid-70s. Before I knew it, Stan was asking me back to his place to see his house plants. He had incredible blue eyes, the kind that no legislator—liberal or conservative—could resist."

Thurmond went on to state that they had stayed up nearly half the night, talking about such varied topics as men's wear; low-fat gourmet cooking; and the tragic, early deaths of silver-screen luminaries James Dean and Marilyn Monroe.

Thurmond said that his new found friend, a systems analyst in the greater D.C. area, held and cuddled him as he fell asleep, then left him a plate of cheese and fresh fruit salad before leaving for work the following morning.

"He would not have made me breakfast if all he cared about was sex," Thurmond said. "Stan saw me as more than just a piece of meat."

Though reluctant to discuss more personal, intimate details of the encounter, Thurmond did say that "you have not lived until you have brought another man to climax using only your lips and tongue."

Thurmond's aides were quick to point out that despite the homoerotic nature of the encounter and the fact that Thurmond and the gentleman in question have since become "very close," the senator does not consider himself "gay."

"I see no reason why we must put labels on the senator," said Harlan Richardson, Thurmond's longtime press secretary. "It is unfair to judge a man's entire identity on one sexual episode alone. Why must we always speak of 'gay' or 'straight,' when human sexuality is so much more complex than that?"

"Gay, straight, bi—we are all just people," Thurmond said. "Yes, I have known the love that dare not speak its name, but I am still just me, Senator Strom Thurmond—a human being."

Thurmond noted that he had been exploring only one facet of his sexuality, and that he remained deeply devoted to his family. He then thanked his wife for being supportive and understanding of his emotional growth.

"In conclusion, I would just like to say to all the gays and lesbians, against whom I have spoken out so vociferously throughout my career, I am sorry," Thurmond said, shedding tears. "If an old man like me, set in his ways, can in his twilight years open his heart to a new understanding, not only of homosexuality, but also of himself, then perhaps it is not too late for all of us to see the truth. I hope you can find it within yourselves to forgive me."

The senator then died.