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Thread: Should gay politicians be outed?

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    Default Should gay politicians be outed?

    Former Arizona Rep. Jim Kolbe -- a moderate Republican who had been mentored by Barry Goldwater -- took a phone call in 1996 that would change his life.

    Debate on the defense of marriage amendment was in full swing and a reporter from the gay media was ready to "out" Kolbe, who voted in favor of the measure but whose entire political life had been in the closet.

    "I panicked when it was obvious The Advocate was going ahead with this," Kolbe told ABCNews.com Thursday. "Then, there was this moment of extraordinary peace and calm, a feeling that the weight of all these years had come off my shoulders."

    Kolbe decided to beat the reporter to the punch, admitting to his close colleague in the U.S. House of Representatives, John McCain, that he was gay.

    "It turned out to be a positive thing," said Kolbe, now 66, who works for a Washington, D.C., think-tank. "Basically, he interrupted me and said, 'Jim, don't worry, because it doesn't matter. You were a good legislator in the past and you'll be a good one in the future.'"

    But for many gay politicians who remain in the closet, fear of exposure runs so deep that they are often the most vocal and virulent opponents of same-sex rights, according to gay advocates.

    That perceived hypocrisy is the subject of the new documentary film "Outrage," which opened to favorable reviews last week in New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Washington, and will open in seven more cities this weekend.

    Washington Is a Deeply Closeted Town

    "Washington is a very gay town," one person interviewed in the film said. "And it's also a deeply closeted town."

    There are no openly gay U.S. senators but three openly gay representatives: Tammy Baldwin, D-Wisc.; Jared Polis, D-Colo.; and Barney Frank, D-Mass. Baldwin, who was interviewed for the documentary, was the first to be elected as openly gay.

    Polis was elected openly gay and, Frank, like Kolbe, came out in office, according to the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund.

    Documentary director Kirby Dick, who earlier exposed sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, now takes aim at the perceived hypocrisy of closeted gay politicians, whom he argues are often the most hateful opponents of gay rights in order to hide their own sexual orientation.

    In interviews with politicians like Kolbe, former Democratic Gov. Jim McGreevey of New Jersey and Frank, who came out in office, the film blames the mainstream media with a "brilliant conspiracy" to hide their secret lives.

    Those lawmakers "have a right to privacy, but there's no right to hypocrisy," according to Frank, who came out in 1987 and has been a vocal supporter of gay rights.

    The film focuses on public officials who Dick said have previously been alleged to be gay: California Rep. David Dreier, former Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman, former Louisiana Rep. Jim McCrery, former New York City Mayor Ed Koch and former Idaho Sen. Larry Craig, whose political career ended after an arrest in a Minneapolis men's room.

    Dreier, McCrery and Craig have publicly denied being homosexual. Koch and Mehlman have repeatedly refused to answer questions about their sexual orientation.

    "When you have someone who is closeted and gay and voting anti-gay, what you are reporting is hypocrisy," Dick said. "If all Americans had civil rights, this wouldn't be an issue."

    Politicians in the Closet

    "Obviously," Dick said of choosing his subjects, "they had to rise to the level of hypocrisy. We didn't just out closeted politicians."

    Besides Craig, the film villainizes Florida's Gov. Charlie Crist, alleging that the divorced politician became engaged to marry again in order to climb the political ladder. The film notes his 2008 marriage to Carole Rome when Republican presidential nominee McCain eyed him for the vice-presidential slot.

    Crist, who supported Florida's anti-gay adoption law, recently announced his run for U.S. Senate and is considered a presidential hopeful for 2012.

    Crist has denied published allegations that he is gay.

    A Crist spokeswoman told ABCNews.com that the governor was unavailable for comment, but his Republican primary opponent, Marco Rubio, told the Orlando Sentinel, "I'm not into that kind of politics at all. I don't want to even talk about it. I don't want to hear about it."

    Florida Newspaper Reports 'Gay Rumors'

    The same newspaper named the sitting governor in its article titled, "Movie revives gay rumors about governor despite his denial."

    The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle and Los Angeles Times, among others, offered names in their film reviews, but other respected news outlets did not.

    National Public Radio censored the names of purported closeted politicians, citing their editorial policies, and the gay reporter who wrote the review, Nathan Lee, demanded his name be removed from the piece.

    The Washington Post mentioned only the names of interviewees who were openly gay.

    Michael Hoyt, editor of the Columbia Journalism Review, defended those ethical decisions. "I don't care what people do in the bedroom unless there is some issue that makes it relevant -- something illegal like having sex with a minor," he told ABCNews.com.

    But, he added, "If somebody was on a virulent anti-gay crusade, it might be relevant."

    Frank criticized the media for ignoring such hypocrisy.

    "If the leader of the anti-abortion movement has an abortion, you write about it," Frank told ABCNews.com. "In general principle, John Locke [the 17th century thinker who influenced the Declaration of Independence] said the person who makes the rules needs to live under them."

    Reporters often shy away from outing those politicians but, Frank said, "It's a recognition that being gay is such a terrible thing.

    "A few years ago, it wasn't plausible [to come out]," he said. "But there are plenty of gays who are honest about their sexuality and survived."

    Coming Out in Office

    "I worried beforehand that I would suffer," said Frank, who came out to the Boston Globe. "I understand why people stay in the closet; I did for the first 15 years in office and then was out for 21 years. You have to decide. But I don't think you have an obligation to come out."

    Frank, himself, wouldn't offer any clues to which politicians might still be in the closet. "I've got to work with them," he said, "I have a job to do. I don't think it's a legislator's job to out hypocrites. That's the job of the media or activists."

    But former New York Mayor Ed Koch, who survived homophobic campaign slogans when running against Mario Cuomo for governor in 1982, said that public servants should never answer questions about their sex lives or be forced out of the closet, "unless they are engaged in hypocrisy -- demeaning homosexuals while being homosexuals themselves."

    Koch, now 84, was alleged in the film to have been closeted his entire political life and to have been unsympathetic to the AIDS crisis in the 1980s.

    Mayor Ed Koch: Film Is an 'Outrage'

    "In the case of the film, 'Outrage,' the allegation apparently is -- I have not seen the film -- that those outed have engaged in homophobic statements or actions," Koch wrote to ABCNews.com in an e-mail. "To say that about me is a true outrage."

    As the first mayor to walk in New York City's gay parade in the 1970s, Koch said his support of the gay and lesbian community is "well known and documented."

    Koch said that as a congressman in the 1970s, he helped introduce federal legislation prohibiting discrimination against gays and lesbians and did the same in New York City.

    "My administration sued a Queens school board that kept an HIV/AIDS-infected child from school, and we prevailed," he said. "My administration closed down heterosexual and homosexual baths that permitted unsafe sex practices -- that is, no condoms. My administration handed out huge numbers of free condoms in bars.

    "Where was or is the hypocrisy?" Koch asked.

    "I don't discuss my sexuality, as a matter of principle," Koch said. "I believe if people do, they are legitimizing questions on the subject of sexual orientation for all."

    As for Jim Kolbe, being asked and then outing himself was "the most liberating experience" of his life.

    "I am honest with myself and I don't have to go to elaborate games with others to cover up," he said. "I have so many friends in the military and they go to my workplace and see a picture of my partner on my desk. They have to put a picture of a sister and say it's their girlfriend."

    The Advocate "did me a huge favor," Kolbe said. "But the individual has to make that decision and it can't be forced."

    The Advocate's latest editor disagrees.

    "The mainstream media often thinks it's shameful to report that someone is gay," Jon Barrett said. "But we in the gay press come from a place that there needs to be the same ethical questions raised, whether it's a heterosexual or homosexual."http://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/story?id=7649039&page=1
    I understand what Koch is saying but when it comes to legislators who use their power to oppress gays-or anyone, for that matter-and are closeted I think they should be outed if possible. Anyone remember the politician from Virginia who was virulently anti-gay, sponsoring all sorts of anti-gay legislation and then someone caught him on tape calling a sex line and/or escort agency.

    I can't find anything on him but did find this from a couple of years ago:

    In what is becoming an all-too-embarrassing pattern, yet another conservative, Republican politician has been detained by police officers for "lewd behavior" in public restrooms. The Times Picayune reports 53-year-old Joey DiFatta—a councilman in St. Bernard Parish near New Orleans and recent candidate for the state senate—"has been stopped twice since 1996 for suspicion of engaging in lewd behavior in public restrooms."

    DiFatta is the THIRD closeted, anti-gay Republican politician in as many months implicated in lewd behavior in public toilets. The other two are Idaho's Larry Craig and Florida's Bob Allen.

    The newest revelations come one day after the father of two and grandfather of three withdrew from the 1st Senate District campaign due to "chest pains." The conservative Republican maintains there is no linkage between his decision to withdraw and the the Times-Picayune's revelations. DiFatta acknowledges being detained twice by police officers in Jefferson Parish but claims he did nothing wrong. "If I had done something wrong, I would have been arrested," DiFatta says rationalizes. "I was not."

    The details are quite colorful and borrow from the now-familiar modus operandi of peering into stalls and playing footsie: The September 1996 report says DiFatta "watched a man use the bathroom while peering through a hole in a bathroom stall. The man held DiFatta until police arrived, at which time he was issued the misdemeanor summons and ordered to appear in court." The March 2000 incident found "deputies working an undercover detail in a men's bathroom stopped DiFatta after he indicated a desire to engage in sex with an undercover deputy in an adjoining bathroom stall." Both incidents occurred in suburban shopping mall restrooms which gives you insight into the "family values" of this politician. Full police reports here.

    Closeted, anti-gay, Republican latrine queens. It really is the gift that keeps on giving.Rod 2.0:Beta: Yet ANOTHER Republican Politician Caught Cruising Restrooms

    Here is the Virginian, if anyone is interested:

    —Get the 33-second phone sex clip on our front page.

    August 31—Rep. Ed Schrock, a two-term Republican congressman from Virginia, announced that he would resign abruptly today, citing unspecified allegations.

    Advertisement


    Those allegations were that he was gay, and that several voicemail messages he left on a phone sex service came into the possession of gay activists, who posted one on their blog.

    Schrock said only: “In recent weeks, allegations have surfaced that have called into question my ability to represent the citizens of Virginia’s Second Congressional District.” He would not elaborate on the allegations.

    Over the past two weeks, a Washington-based Web site has spread claims that Schrock was gay. Rogers said on his Web site that Schrock had been recorded several years ago using a telephone service on which men place ads to arrange liaisons with other men, the Washington Post reported on page 2 Tuesday.

    Michael Rogers, who runs the site, told a local paper he posted the allegations because of what he described as Schrock’s anti-gay voting record.

    “No one doubts that it’s him,” Rogers said. “It’s pretty clear that he’s trying to hide from people what the truth is. He had no way out of this.”

    Rep. Schrock was one of several dozen to cosponsor the Federal Marriage Amendment of July 2004, which aimed to constitutionally prohibit gay marriage.

    The alleged tape one of Schrock’s calls is now available on the Internet, at BlogActive.

    Raw Story's transcript of the tape is as follows (click here to access the audio file).

    "Uh, hi, I weigh 200 pounds, I'm 6'4" (inaudible) blond hair....very muscular, very buffed up, uh, very tanned, uh, I just like to get together a guy from time to time, just to, just to play. I'd like him to be in very good shape, flat stomach, good chest, good arms, well hung, cut, uh, just get naked, play, and see what happens, nothing real heavy duty, but just, fun time, go down on him, he can go down on me, and just take it from there... hope to hear from you. Bye."

    Rep. Schrock was one of several dozen to cosponsor the Federal Marriage Amendment of July 2004, which aimed to constitutionally prohibit gay marriage.

    A ranking Daily Kos member noted, "The National Journal ties him as the second most conservative person in all of Congress in 2003, behind only Dennis Hastert. A strong family man with a wife and kids, Schrock was a co-sponsor of the Federal Marriage Amendment and opposes any possible rights for gay people, including non-discrimination in employment."

    The Virginia Pilot reported in October 2000 that Schrock favored ending the Clinton administration's ''don't ask, don't tell'' policy on gays in the military, BlogActive noted.

    "He supports asking enlistees whether they have had homosexual experiences in an effort to to try to keep gays from serving. 'You're in the showers with them, you're in the bunk room with them, you're in staterooms with them,' Schrock said."

    Schrock has a 92 percent vote rating from the Christian coalition, a 100 percent voting record for the right to life movement, and a zero percent rating from the Human Rights Campaign.

    Schrock said he would not seek reelection in a press release.

    "After much thought and prayer, I have come to the realization that these allegations will not allow my campaign to focus on the real issues facing our nation and region," Schrock said

    "Therefore, as of today, I am stepping aside and will no longer be the Republican nominee for Congress in Virginia's Second Congressional District." All three of Rep. Schrock's offices stopped taking phone calls on Friday.

    Here's some information on Schrock from his House biography.

    Congressman Ed Schrock represents Virginia's Second District which comprises the cities of Virginia Beach, Norfolk (part) and Hampton (part) and the counties of Accomack and Northampton on Virginia’s Eastern Shore. He was sworn in on January 7, 2003 for a second-term.

    In Congress, Mr. Schrock serves on the House Armed Services, Budget, Small Business, and Government Reform Committees. In 2003, Mr. Schrock was chosen to serve as Chairman of the Regulatory Reform and Oversight Subcommittee of the House Committee on Small Business. In this capacity, Mr. Schrock works to address federal regulations and policies that hinder the ability of American small businesses to compete and provide excessive financial and paperwork burdens on small business owners.

    Mr. Schrock also serves on four other subcommittees and the Postal Reform Task Force. In his first term in Congress, Mr. Schrock was elected President of the Republican Freshman Class. He founded and remains a co-chair of the House Navy/Marine Corps Caucus and the House Special Operations Forces Caucus. The Navy/Marine Corps Caucus was formed to advocate the issues important to the Navy and Marine Corps, their members and their families. The House Special Forces Caucus supports issues related to Special Operations Forces, including the Navy SEALs, Army Airborne, and Air Force Special Operations.

    Ed Schrock was born and raised in Middletown, Ohio and is married to the former Judith Adnee Crawford of Long Beach, California. Judy is retired, after teaching children for almost thirty years, including teaching kindergarten in the Norfolk Public School System for fifteen years. The Schrocks have one son, Randy. They reside in the Witchduck neighborhood in Virginia Beach and are active members of Atlantic Shores Baptist Church.

    DEVELOPING...

    *** Correction: An earlier headline said that Congressman Schrock had cosponsored the Defense of Marriage Act, which was in error. Schrock cosponsored the Federal Marriage Amendment, a more restrictive measure aimed at constitutionally banning gay marriage, in July 2004. The Raw Story | Rep. Schrock resigns after 'gay phone sex call' surfaces on web
    You can hear the tape here: http://www.blogactive.com/image_file...audio23snt.mp3
    'Those who sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither.' Ben Franklin

    "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross."
    --Sinclair Lewis

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    Elite Member sputnik's Avatar
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    i think it's fine to out them if they are being hypocritical and being actively anti-gay. like it says in the article, if the leader of the anti-choice movement has an abortion, of course it should be reported by the media.
    in all other cases, people's private lives should be respected.
    I'm open to everything. When you start to criticise the times you live in, your time is over. - Karl Lagerfeld

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    Friend of Gossip Rocks! buttmunch's Avatar
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    ^^Yeah, that's pretty much it.
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    Elite Member Wiseguy's Avatar
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    ^^^^What they said.

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    Ideally they shouldn't need to be outed because they would be totally comfortable coming out anyway without fear of recriminations or damage to their careers, credibility and integrity. But this isn't an ideal world.
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    Elite Member nana55's Avatar
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    I agree. It is so reprehensible to sponsor ant-gay measures when you yourself engage in those same activities.
    If I can't be a good example, then let me be a horrible warning.

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    A*O
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    Ah yes, but that's expecting politicians (gay or straight) not to be hypocrites and that's a given with ALL of them.
    I've never liked lesbianism - it leaves a bad taste in my mouth
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    I don't condone outing someone for the sake of ruining his career (yes, we know that being publicly gay is not a good thing for a politician, especially if you belong to the GOP). Now, if a guy votes against gays' rights or publicly attacks them, I'd say do it. You often know that one who is beligerant on these issues has something to hide.

    Do you remember the case of that Alabama Baptist pastor (you can guess what his morals were given his religious credentials) that was found dead with two!!! dive suits on and a dildo up his anus? Hipocrisy rules!

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    Friend of Gossip Rocks! buttmunch's Avatar
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    I think Ted Haggard is a great example of the hypocrisy that goes on: there he was, 'advising' Bush on gay marriage (don't allow it) and meanwhile he was busy in a motel room with a two bit male hooker and a bag full of meth.
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    No one should be 'outed'. Its no one's business.

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    I usually agree with that but when it comes to politicians who actively use their position of power to oppress people WHO ARE JUST LIKE THEMSELVES then they should be exposed for the hypocrites they are. If they just went about their business and didn't actively work against gays no problem. Think about it this way: Politico John spends his entire career working to oppress, just say, hispanics. He tries to keep them out of public life, refuse them full participation in life and generally works to deny them basic rights. Suddenly it's revealed that John is actually Juan and is hispanic on both sides of his family, but has been covering this up/hiding it for years and his old schtick against hispanics is a large dose of that old chesnut self-hatred.
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    If they're for gay rights and want to move forward with them, keep them closeted. They'll come out when they're ready.

    If they're against gay rights, and want to continue to treat them like they're aliens from outerspace, out them. Let the world see their hypocrisy and hatred for what it really is.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sputnik View Post
    i think it's fine to out them if they are being hypocritical and being actively anti-gay. like it says in the article, if the leader of the anti-choice movement has an abortion, of course it should be reported by the media.
    in all other cases, people's private lives should be respected.

    I agree also.

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    Can someone explain what it is about being in the closet and public bathrooms? In my 40 years, I can honestly say that going into a public restroom has NEVER made me the slightest bit horny.

    But I do agree with the general consensus...hypocrisy = out you go, otherwise you are entitled to absolute respect and privacy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sputnik View Post
    i think it's fine to out them if they are being hypocritical and being actively anti-gay. like it says in the article, if the leader of the anti-choice movement has an abortion, of course it should be reported by the media.
    in all other cases, people's private lives should be respected.
    Pretty much what i was going to say. If they're lying hypocrites, out them. Otherwise, let them be.

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