Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Scandal Rocks Yet Another GOP Lawmaker

Washington is abuzz with news that Minneapolis police arrested a conservative Republican lawmaker in June as he traveled through the city's airport. The Roll Call reported U.S. Sen. Larry Craig [R-Idaho] plead guilty to a misdemeanor disorderly conduct charge earlier this month after a plainclothes police officer, who was investigating reports of sexual activity, arrested him inside a Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport restroom. The Web site reported he paid more than $500 in fines and court fees. The court also sentenced Craig to one year probation.

Craig has championed so-called traditional marriage and other socially conservative causes throughout his more than three decades in politics. Idahoans first elected him to the U.S. Senate in 1990 but he has faced persistent questions about his sexual orientation. Mike Rogers of BlogACTIVE reported last October that Craig was known to frequent restrooms at Washington's Union Square. These allegations are just that -- allegations -- but the charges to which he plead guilty in Minneapolis indicate he is the latest in a series of political hypocrites who seem to use the LGBT community to score points with their anti-LGBT supporters.

National Gay & Lesbian Task Force Executive Director Matt Foreman implied this exact sentiment in a statement he released after news of the arrest first broke.

"What's up with elected officials like Senator Craig?," he sarcastically asked. "They stand for so-called 'family values' and fight basic protections for gay people while furtively seeking other men for sex. Infuriating pathetic hypocrites. What more can you say?"

The movement for LGBT rights remains clearly uncomfortable with these stories as the absence of statements on the Human Righs Campaign and the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation clearly indicates. These politicians are, for better or worse, what they are -- hypocrites. The movement perhaps serves its self-professed constituency better if it highlights these public digressions within the context of its stated objectives of fairness and equality.

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