The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


Where there’s smoke …

In 2006, the song “It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp” won the Academy Award for best original song for the movie “Hustle & Flow.” Change “pimp” to “closeted Republican” and you may just have the new theme song for the Republican Party, a party that has made homophobia a major plank in its “pro-family” platform for years.

Last week, a Minnesota judge denied Idaho Senator Larry Craig’s motion to withdraw his guilty plea to a disorderly conduct charge stemming from his arrest for lewd conduct in a Minneapolis airport men’s room. Following the decision, and much to his fellow Republicans’ chagrin, Craig reneged on his previous promise to resign if the petition was denied.

Depending on whose version of events you believe, Craig was either cruising for sex in a public restroom by touching the foot of the undercover policeman in the adjoining stall, or he was guilty of nothing more than, in the senator’s words, “a wide stance.”

In June, Craig plead guilty to a lesser charge of disorderly conduct hoping to avoid the publicity that a lewdness trial would certainly attract. When the details of the arrest were made public, Craig called his now famous press conference and declared, “I am not gay. I have never been gay.”

If by “gay” Craig means that he doesn’t have a male partner, doesn’t live in a gay neighborhood, doesn’t march in gay pride parades and doesn’t have a rainbow sticker on his bumper, then sure, he’s not gay.

At best, he’s another in a long line of closeted men who get married, lie to family and friends, deny their ontology, seek out clandestine sex in public restrooms and project their internalized homophobia onto the gay men whose open and honest lives they envy. Perhaps it’s that envy that turned Craig into one of the most anti-gay members of the U.S. Senate, which includes a vote two weeks ago to deny federal hate-crimes protection to gays and lesbians.

Craig’s case may seem unusual. The truth is it’s far more common than Republicans would like you to believe. Rumors about Craig’s closeted sexuality have been floating around Washington since his name first surfaced linked to a congressional page sex scandal in 1982.

He denied the rumors then and continued to deny them as recently as last year when a gay blog outed him, the same blog that outed Florida Congressman Mark Foley a year before his sexual misconduct with male pages was made public.

It was reported Friday that congressional Republicans had long been aware of Craig’s closeted homosexuality as well as his sexual antics in men’s rooms – just as they knew about Mark Foley’s teen boy fetish before it erupted in scandal.

Admittedly, leading a closeted life shouldn’t disqualify anyone from political office, except when politicians use gay bashing as a means of maintaining the charade.

Like Senator Craig, Florida Republican State Representative Bob Allen has vowed to continue to serve while he attempts to clear his name, following his arrest in an undercover sting in a men’s room this summer. Like Craig, Allen insists it was all a misunderstanding.

And like Craig, his explanation, a “black panic” defense, would be funny if it weren’t so pathetic. According to Allen, he offered to pay the black undercover policeman for sex because he feared for his safety when approached by a “pretty stocky black man” in a public restroom.

Unlike Craig and Allen, some of former Florida Congressman Mark Foley’s Palm Beach County constituents knew he was gay, or at least suspected it. What they didn’t know was that he was using his position to solicit sex from underage male pages. Is it me, or does Florida have more than its share of closeted gay Republican scandals?

Unfortunately for Republican Party consultant Ralph Gonzalez, his double life may have cost him his life.

In August, the bodies of three men were found in Gonzalez’s Orlando home in what appeared to be a double murder-suicide. The murder victims included Gonzalez and his “roommate.” The shooter, Robert Drake, was identified as a former “roommate.”

Drake, an ex-Marine, worked for a gay escort agency in Virginia, which, some have speculated, provides male escorts to closeted Washington politicians. The outing of prominent Republicans has been posited as a motive for the shootings.

That’s where North Carolina Congressman Patrick McHenry, the extremely conservative political phenomenon and youngest member of the House of Representatives, comes in. Drake, it turns out, worked on McHenry’s 2004 congressional campaign, a fact that McHenry initially denied. (Wouldn’t you?)

Past gay Republican scandals have proven that where there’s smoke in the closet, there’s also fire. And there’s lots of smoke here.

According to McHenry, he “owes his [congressional] seat” to Dan Gurley, a former national field director for the Republican National Party who was fired after it was discovered that he had posted a sex ad on It appears that Gurley was responsible for recruiting the gay ex-Marine-turned-escort-turned-murderer to work on McHenry’s campaign.

McHenry’s connection to the closeted gay Republican underworld doesn’t end with Drake and Gurley. As former chairman of the Young Republican National Federation, McHenry was almost single-handedly responsible for convincing, some say pressuring, YRNF members to elect Glenn Murphy as their new chairman, a position he held until July, when he was charged for sexually assaulting a sleeping man.

Sexual assault, sex in public restrooms, sex with underage pages, gay escorts – and still a year to go until elections.

Let’s face it: It’s hard out there for closeted Republicans.

About the writer:

George Henson is a Spanish professor. He can be reached at [email protected].

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