Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Craig Scandal Continues to Unfold as Movement Struggles to Respond

The fallout from the developing scandal surrounding U.S. Rep. Larry Craig [R-Idaho] continues to unfold as several of his own colleagues, such as GOP presidential hopeful John McCain [R-Ariz.], have begun to call for his resignation. Craig, who has been subject to persistent rumors about his sexual orientation, vehemently declared his heterosexuality during a press conference in Boise, Idaho, yesterday afternoon as his wife Suzanne stood by his side. This clearly defensive denial clearly indicates to many activists that the social conservative either remains deeply in the closet of self-loathing or continues his desperate attempt to deflect the firestorm which has engulfed him and tarnished his decades long career in politics.

The question remains, however, as to how the movement for LGBT rights will respond to Craig's guilty plea and the broader issues surrounding it. The movement remains highly uncomfortable with the idea of outing people against their will. This discomfort emerged during the scandal that surrounded former U.S. Sen. Mark Foley [R-Fla.] last fall. The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force has issued two statements since the scandal first broke earlier this week to condemn Craig, who repeatedly voted in favor of anti-LGBT legislation, as a hypocrite and to blast the GOP for the apparent double standard it maintained after U.S. Sen. David Vitter [R-La.]'s phone number appeared in a Capital madam's lists of clients. The Human Rights Campaign and the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation have remained notably silent despite problematic mainstream media coverage of his plea and subsequent fallout. The scandal surrounding Craig will undoubtedly continue to dominate headlines over the next few days. The movement, on the other hand, will continue to struggle with its collective response to what has become the latest titillation to come out of the Beltway.

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