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Because apparently being gay is itself a 'scandal'

by Jeremy Hooper

Larry Craig, a man with a firmly anti-LGBT voting record, was hauled in by a cop for allegedly soliciting airport bathroom sex.

Mark Sanford, a "values" governor, was found to be cheating on his wife.

Mark Foley was involved in a scandal with young congressional pages.

All of these situations were investigated not because of the lead characters' actual or perceived sexual orientation alone. The reason why they were noteworthy is because of hypocrisy and impropriety (whether real or alleged). Yet to longtime foe of the 'mos Sandy Rios, there is absolutely no difference between any of the aforementioned incidents and the possibility that another lawmaker, congressman and senatorial candidate Mark Kirk, is a gay man. In fact, she wants Kirk investigated for that reason alone:

Congressman Mark Kirk, one of the Republican candidates for Senate to fill Barack Obama's seat, has been "outed" by one of his primary opponents. Chicago newspapers are rushing to condemn the accuser/candidate. So are Republican leaders in the state. They are appalled by Rios-1the accusation and Congressman Kirk's campaign is declaring it "demeaning to the political process."

I don't remember any such outrage at the accusation of Governor Mark Sanford for alleged adultery. I seem to remember newsmen and cameras running to South America simply to confirm or deny. I don't remember outrage over Senator Larry Craig and his "outing" for bathroom flirtation, just more "investigating" to find the truth. The candidate who "outed" Kirk is the least credible of those in the primary. His record of outrageous claims makes it impossible to take him seriously much less believe what he says. But in this case, press and Republicans alike are rushing to pooh-pooh what, in spite of the weakness of the messenger, has been the topic of discussion in Washington and elsewhere for quite some time. So, where is the reporting? Where are the cameras? The gleaning of records? The follow-up on accusations?

Do we have a right to know if candidates are gay? [ONN]

Witch hunt.

Look, we think any and everyone should be as out and open as their situation will allow, and it would seem that a grown adult who serves in Congress would have the stability needed to be an openly gay man. Homosexuality should not be a story at all. There is no "there" there.

But in terms of Kirk: This is not someone who has been harassing the gay population via his voting record. This is not someone who has been credibly cited with wrongdoing or impropriety. If he was, then that would be a different story altogether. But as far as any of us know, Congressman Kirk is simply a person with a sexuality, be it G, B, S, or whatever. If he is a closeted man, then that's his own thing. We'd certainly encourage him to stand up and represent. However, it is beyond offensive to directly to compare the public's "right to know" about Kirk's sexual orientation to the public's right to know about Foley/Craig/Sanford/etc!

Plus, it's completely absurd to act as if the American press has even ignored the situation. There are 110 stories in Google News for the search "'Mark Kirk'" gay." Of course the press is going to bite on something like this, to some degree. If Sandy wants an "investigation," she is getting one! The difference is that she wants raised questions to instead be raised pitchforks and torches, designed to smear a candidate for no virtue beyond his simple sexual orientation. She won't admit that, of course. But by putting pen to paper for the sole sake of de-closeting, she has tipped her hand.

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Your thoughts

Mercy! She even managed to squeeze a dig at Kevin Jennings out of it.

Posted by: a. mcewen | Jan 11, 2010 12:07:32 PM

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