Outing update

The other day I explored the ethics of outing closeted gay and lesbian politicians who vocally and hypocritically oppose gay rights legislation. Wherever you stand on this issue (and I myself am ambivalent,) I think that in the current political and media climate, such outings are inevitable. There is at least one WA legislator for whom the rumors appear well supported and widely known, and it should come as no surprise if some blogger or gay rights activist — or even a fellow legislator — were to publicly reveal his or her secret life.

Under these circumstances, I do not think the MSM could resist covering the ensuing controversy. Any hint of scandal is good for the business, and once the story breaks, extended coverage can easily be rationalized, if not entirely justified. After all, when a politician makes a career out of appealing to family values conservatives, it is hard to argue that his or her non-traditional lifestyle is not germane to the public debate. Voters have a right to know when their elected officials fail to walk the talk, and journalists have the responsibility to inform them.

Indeed, there seems to be growing media interest in the issue. The day after I addressed the subject, Danny Westneat devoted his Seattle Times column to Sen. Ken Jacobsen’s letter to The Ethicist. I have since been contacted by other journalists, interested in discussing the broader ethical issues, and/or the specific rumors themselves. I refused to name names, but my sense is that I don’t have to. The Legislature is likely to have another openly gay member by the start of the next session… if reluctantly so.

For those of you who strongly believe that a person’s private life should remain private, and that sexual orientation should not leave one vulnerable at the polls, I absolutely agree. But then, neither should sexual orientation leave one vulnerable to discrimination in employment, housing, finance and insurance. One would think that politicians who find it necessary to hide their sexual orientation in order to win public office, would be more sensitive to the need to protect others from similar discrimination.

Comments

  1. 1

    Commander Ogg spews:

    If you run your campaign on a platform of “Family Values” (what a word), they had better begin at home. Case in point was the phony impeachment of ‘Bad’ Bill Clinton. Did the Rethug hypocrites who tried to fry him on a morality charge really expect that their own peccadilloes would not see the light of day? Where Hyde, Gingrich, Livingston and Burton (among others) really that stupid?

    If the mayor of Spokane or any other politico bases his reelection strategy on activist gay bashing, then knowledge that he is gay should be a matter of public record. We use the substitution test and see if it still stinks of hypocrisy. The following story about a Jack Ryan is a good example — http://slate.msn.com/id/2102857

  2. 2

    Mark spews:

    Goldy: “But then, neither should sexual orientation leave one vulnerable to discrimination in employment, housing, finance and insurance.”

    To what extent can/should you legislate this? I know that there are exceptions to current and proposed legislation. For example, I believe you can discriminate against someone that would be a boarder in your personal residence.

    Reality and practicality sometimes conflict with social ideals. On issues of finance, I can’t imagine a good argument for discrimination — all other things being equal. On issues of employment, though, blanket legislation is impractical. If you have a small OB/GYN practice, a male doctor is supposed to have a female nurse present during exams. Can you discriminate against a highly-capable male nurse applying for that job? Can a capable and knowledgeable man sue Nordstrom for not hiring him to sell lingerie? Can a Christian bookstore be forced to hire a Hare Krishna follower in full garb?

    Health & life insurance are also tricky. Should insurance companies be allowed to not cover you and/or adjust your rates if you’re an admitted or convicted IV drug user? If they ask everyone the same health and lifestyle questions and premium decisions are based on auditable statistics, shouldn’t insurance companies be allowed to make sound financial decisions?

  3. 3

    Mark spews:

    Ogg @ 1: “the phony impeachment of ‘Bad’ Bill Clinton. Did the Rethug hypocrites who tried to fry him on a morality charge…”

    Do you even know why he was impeached? It wasn’t for his sexual misdeeds. You’re just trying to perpetuate the same MoveOn Kool-Aid BS talking points.

  4. 4

    Captain Pike spews:

    Help me, Mark. Was Bill Clinton Impeached for lying to a grand jury about a matter unrelated to the supposed purpose that the grand jury had been convened. Thirty million of our tax dollars spent trying ro pin something on Clinton and all you can come up with is lying about a blow job?
    Your hypocrisy, considering the current hot water this administration is in, is disgusting.

  5. 5

    zip spews:

    Goldy, Back on the 18th, your story was “I’m told there is at least one senator who should think twice before casting another hypocritical vote in opposition.”

    Now you are ranting about “when a politician makes a career out of appealing to family values conservatives, it is hard to argue that his or her non-traditional lifestyle is not germane to the public debate.”

    Which is it? Are you and your “growing media interest” planning to out a legislator because he voted against HB 1515, because he is on the opposite side of the “values” issue as your fan base, or both?

    This whole outing threat is one of the more sinister ideas I have seen you supporting. After all, we all know that the Democrats controlled Olympia last session and could not pass this bill. Twisting the bill’s defeat within your own party into some ethical battle between the hypocrite Republicans and the forces of good is a flat out lie and you know it.

  6. 6

    zip spews:

    Hey Captain Pike, he lied during a deposition! I suppose you think it’s perfectly acceptable to lie under oath.

  7. 7

    Mark spews:

    Pike @ 4

    Clinton was impeached for both perjury and obstruction of justice (two articles out of, I believe, four). While it could not be called bipartisan, there were some Republicans who voted against it and some Democrats who voted for.

  8. 8

    Goldy spews:

    Zip @5,

    You are conflating the motive for a potential outing with the justification. I think I was pretty blunt in my previous post that the motive for threatening to out such a legislator is to apply pressure to pass HB 1515. But the ethical justification for doing so is the legislator’s hypocrisy.

  9. 9

    VR spews:

    Just because a person is a member of a certain group it doesn’t follow that the person should expect, believe in, or fight for special rights for that group. The fact that they do not does not mean they are hypocrites. Many groups that are discriminated against are not protected and shouldn’t necessarily be. Groups that have no choice in the matter either.. where are the special protections for the ugly, the fat, the short, the bald, the socially incompetent…. ??? Is calling a fat person “Tubbo” hate speech? Some of us, regardless of how many of these groups we belong to do not believe it is the goventments place to give us more rights then the next group. There are gay folks who do not believe in special rights for gays. There are black folks who do not believe in special rights for blacks. So what?

  10. 10

    zip spews:

    Goldy,
    Give me a break. How many Republicans voted “aye” last time? Zero or do I remember wrong? So the Demos will stoop to this outing to try to pick up Republican votes for a Democrat bill that the Democrats haven’t been able to get passed for what, 18 years of trying?

    You guys should be whining to your governor and party leaders, not hatching BS plots like this.

  11. 11

    zip spews:

    A better idea for you Goldy: start an initiative for your pet gay rights bill! I’ll enjoy the irony of that one.

    The reason this bill consistently fails year after year is that it has ZERO public support outside of your Seattle world. Not because you have not yet outed some hypocrite senator.

  12. 12

    N in Seattle spews:

    Hey zip, of course it’s unacceptable to lie (more like dissemble) during a deposition, even when that dissembling is about an issue that’s irrelevant to the ostensible topic of the case. But unacceptable behavior in a minor case unrelated to the presidency is not impeachable, except perhaps in Gingrich/Hastert bizarro world. It isn’t within hailing distance of “high crimes and misdemeanors” in the real world.

  13. 13

    Captain Pike spews:

    It’s perfectly acceptable to lie under oath if the questions being asked have nothing to do with the purpose for which the grand jury is being held. It’s a little more complicated than that. I’m leading you into a box canyon involving Rove , Libby, and Gannon/Guckert and covert gay behavior at the highest levels of government. And Rove and Libby lying under oath to a grand jury about things only slightly tangential to the subject matter of the grand jury. I can only flash a yes or no to signify my agreement or disagreement with these posts I submit. In the interests of time I flash “yes” to things That I would have phrased differently. I am getting weary and may soon return to TalosIV.

  14. 14

    Captain Pike spews:

    Microsoft backed off from this hot potato. A secretly gay and hypocritical legislator might do the same.

  15. 15

    N in Seattle spews:

    zip @ 11:

    Actually, HB 1515 has passed in the House — with bipartisan support — for at least the last two sessions. Until this year, it had never been brought to the floor for a vote in the (then Republican-led) Senate. It’s correct that no Republican Senators supported the bill … this time.

  16. 19

    Richard Pope spews:

    Here is an interesting quote that Goldy posted on Horse’s Ass back on April 7, 2005:

    “Coincidentally, I have also slept with Sen. Luke Esser (R-Bellevue) who initiated the parliamentary maneuver.”

    http://www.horsesass.org/index.php?p=563

    In this same posting, Goldy also claims to have had homosexual relations with two named Democrat state senators as well. Amazingly enough, Goldy also claims to have had HOMOSEXUAL relations with some FEMALE state senators also.

    So when Goldy finally “outs” this allegedly gay GOP state senator, is anyone in the mainstream media going to take him seriously?

  17. 20

    christmasghost spews:

    richard@19….the answer to your question is NO…..goldy doesn’t even take himself seriously…or at least he didn’t used to.
    just because someone is gay does not mean that they have to want gay marriage as law. and not wanting that does NOT make them hypocrites.
    and goldy….seriously….for a guy that is always complaining about the republican’s “dirty deeds” concerning people’s private lives, your not-so-subtle threat to “out” someone is pretty hypocritical and tasteless in itself.

  18. 21

    Robert Rabbit spews:

    Reply to 17

    Impossible! Although I’ll fuck anything with long ears and a cottontail, regardless of gender, it’s ridiculous to insinuate I’m a closet Republican.

  19. 22

    christmasghost spews:

    but you said “anything” roger….doesn’t that include little republican rabbits?

  20. 24

    christmasghost spews:

    captain pike….and you are surprised by this? i didn’t realize that they started out being non-absurd………

  21. 25

    marks spews:

    Cap’n Pike @23

    I agree, though if you were a regular here, you would find it routine and therefore easier to ignore.

    As for outing what Goldy considers a hypocrite: I’m shocked…

    okay, maybe not…

    And Roger Rabbit @21

    No, I do not sport long ears and a cottontail, thank God…though Cap’n Pike thinks I rest my thumb in my anus for some reason. He is wrong, of course. I use my index finger.

  22. 26

    NoWonder spews:

    Two possible scenarios:

    1. A gay legislator who is in the closet, perhaps even a republican, supports all of the “equal rights” legislation including gay marriage. Someone in the religious right outs him to his moderate-to-conservative voters and he he gets voted out. Is it OK to out this guy if he does tow the left-wing line in the legislature and the motive for outing is to get him out of office?

    2. A gay legislator who is in the closet has serious internal conflict and/or doubts about whether he is “OK”, or “sinning in the eyes of God”. He votes his concience, which upsets the left wing. Does he desrve to be outed? An alcoholic can binge drink at night and know it is wrong, yet try to do the right thing when voting for tougher drunk driving legislation.

    This whole process reminds me of the way the lefties describe the McCarthy era.

  23. 27

    Donnageddon spews:

    I keep seeing the Trolls making comments about Goldy “outing” someone. I don’t read that in any of Goldy’s comments. In fact he made it plain that he refused to name names when asked.

    I geuss this is kinda like all the other stuff the Trolls come up with.

    They just pull it out of their ass.

  24. 28

    spews:

    27

    We fight fire with fire. With all the bullshit you donks throw around I can understand how you would mistake the truth as bullshit.

  25. 31

    Commander Ogg spews:

    Pike@4

    …Bill Clinton Impeached for lying to a grand jury about a matter unrelated to the supposed purpose that the grand jury had been convened.

    Captain Pike said it all. If any prosecutor, even a batshit insane one like Ken “PORN” Starr or his successor Ray had tried to bring criminal charges against Bill Clinton for something so petty they would have been laughed out of the Court Room. The alledged “charges” bought by the Republican thugs in that phony impeachment trial were so stupid and silly that even with a 45/55 advantage in the Senate, they could not get more then 50 votes for impeachment.

    Oh and NoWonder @ 26 the 15th Amendment is very straight forward on this (no pun intended):
    Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

    Homosexuality is as natural as breathing in the animal kingdom, and that includes Homo Sapiens.
    (http://news.nationalgeographic.....nimal.html)
    It is not a disease like alcoholism, and the concept of sin is irrelevant in America because we are a Republic and not a theocracy (30 years ago interracial marriage was considered “sinning in the eyes of God”). I hold homophobic bigotry in the same class as racial or religious bigotry, beneath my contempt. Keep it in your home or your heart if you must; it is not in the Constitution.

  26. 32

    mark spews:

    26

    1. Nobody who supports equal rights for gays needs to be outed to his conservative voters. They would never have voted for him in the first place!

    2. The self-hating gay legislator you describe is exactly the kind of politician that we’re talking about here. If you hate yourself and your sexual identity that much, you shouldn’t be making the laws about that very thing.

  27. 33

    Mark spews:

    “mark” @ 31

    I know you’re not me. And I don’t think you’re “marks.”

    As for your comments, you take an awfully simplistic view. I find it incredibly arrogant when Lefties justify actions they would otherwise wail about — all in the name of the “greater good.” Hypocrisy is NOTHING NEW in politics. Look at Teddy K & his strong stand AGAINST wind power (because it would be in his backyard instead of some farmer’s).

    If a politician gets DIFFERENT TREATMENT or DIFFERENT BENEFITS than the average person s/he denies those things to, they’re a hypocrite. However, if a gay politician doesn’t believe in gay marriage for him-/herself, believes it to be wrong and votes accordingly, they have done NOTHING hypocritical and nothing wrong. And if they are in the closet, just let them be.

    It is only when a politician wants something better for themselves or their puppetmasters err… “major donors” and votes against similar benefits for their constituents that they need to be “outed” for that BENEFIT, not who they are. Now, in the case of gay rights, it is inevitable that the “gay” part would become public. But the ONLY wrong thing they did was expect to be treated differently.

    The Far Left is just as bad as the Far Right when it comes to meddling in people’s private lives.

  28. 34

    Left Behind by the New Democratic Party spews:

    Hello.

    Personally, I find this tactic to be stooping to a new low. Say what you will about how he/she is a traitor to their personal beliefs, we the people do not vote a person into an office to vote for what only they want. We vote them in to represent us and our positions. Or at the very least, vote poeple into office that similar ideas to us. I can give you all a perfect example of a politician who follows his voter’s wills over his personal beliefs:

    John Kerry

    After all, he is a Catholic who despises abortion. HOWEVER, he also knows almost all of his voters are pro-choice, so he does the job they voted him in for, rather than crusade for his own beliefs.

    On an aside, am I the only one who finds it sadly ironic that the Democratic Party and a LOT of Liberals find it ok to slander someone who is gay if they do not follow lockstep in their plans? I remember the furor over the senator who called Barney Frank “Barney Fag,” yet the same people who decried that incident as bigotry are chomping at the bit to be just as bigoted in their quest for attaining their ideology? Sorry to be crude here, but are they TRULY caring of diversity, or are only accepting of good little fags that will blindly follow their rhetoric? And any that DARE to question them are immediately treated as traitors who should be outed and hunted down, damn the fact that it really makes the gay rights cause take a HUGE step backwards. I find it truly sad, and I see it with more than just gay people. It seems the legendary ‘Dixiecrats’ just found a new way to be bigots and racsists.

    Domo.

    PS- Before people try to slam me as a bigot against gays for what I wrote, I feel I should tell you that that line is not my own, but rather my younger brother’s, who came out of the closet on his own 10 years ago. We talk about these subjects quite a bit, and quite honestly, he is more to the right than I am, and he opened my eyes to the hypocracy of tolerance. And no, I will not out him because he does not to the party line you like. Find other windmills to joust.

  29. 35

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Reply to 26

    You are soooo typical of wingers!

    You say that outing someone is fine if it rids the legislature of someone who votes the liberal side of the gay rights issue, but it’s not okay if it rids the legislature of someone who votes the right wing side of the gay rights issue.

    And then you accuse liberals of “McCarthyism” for calling you a hypocrite.

    Yep, hypocrisy and name calling are what you’re good at.

  30. 36

    NoWonder spews:

    Roger Rabbit @ 35

    I do not think it is OK to “out” anyone. I proposed scenarios that would probably be decried by the same folks who want to out gays who do not “tow the line”. If what you do in private is so sacred then you should respect what is private. You can not have it both ways and still be considered an adult.

  31. 37

    NoWonder spews:

    Commander Ogg @ 31

    You are confusing rights with State-sponsored privilege or incentivized behavior. I personally think the government should not license or recognize marriage. What you decry is an easy-to-enforce simplistic set of laws that encourage families led by a man and woman. When you instead open the definitions up to include same-sex relationships there is obvious difficulty with enforcement. (How do you prove someone is not gay?.) If no privileges can be targeted for supposed benefit to the State then the laws we have will get much simpler. All privileges will have to be shut down as the cost of extending to all is enormous.

    ‘Homosexuality is as natural as breathing in the animal kingdom, and that includes Homo Sapiens.’
    This argument is irrelevant. There are many things that occur in nature that should either be squashed (disease, pedophiles) or discouraged.

    ‘It is not a disease like alcoholism, and the concept of sin is irrelevant in America because we are a Republic and not a theocracy (30 years ago interracial marriage was considered “sinning in the eyes of God”).’
    I think the jury is still out on the disease issue. Just because behavior or biological configuration is tolerated does not mean it is not an aberation due to who knows what. (Toxic chemicals or other polution effects.) With regard to “sin”, a theocracy is not required to allow individuals freedom to live their religion. Your stance is very hostile and threatening to those that prefer to select a religion other than Humanism. You are free to reject any or all religions that repel you, but please show some tolerance to others.

  32. 38

    Captain Pike spews:

    re 34: Liberals believe in good works and trying to apply Christian principles in the real world. Many of us, however, do not believe that eating a wafer drinking a tot of grapejuice and saying, “I’m sorry”, makes all the deliberate evil and bad works that Republicans do OK. If a self-hating gay wants to be in a party that reviles him and calls him an:”abomination of the Lord”, Then be y guest. It’s a free country. But don’t then justify your anti-gay activities with being so gosh darn moral that you are willing to represent bigots because that’s your constituency.

    You know, the thing I find most refreshing about horse stables is that you can smell it there as well as see it.

  33. 39

    Carl Ballard spews:

    I’m a pretty big absolutist on people’s private lives not being part of the public record. However, I’m pretty sure I’m the only one. Rick White who not long ago, Republicans were touting as The One To Take On Cantwell basically implied that she was a lezzie throughout the ’94 campaign. How many candidates (from both sides of the aisle) pose with their families? All of this is silly to me. How many people have attacked Ed Murray or Barny Frank just for being gay? I can’t figure out how outing someone, and actually tying it back to their politics, is worse than that?

  34. 40

    antidote spews:

    The terrible philosophical problem for R.Pope, Christmasghost, et al. is that they live in an unironic world.

  35. 41

    Dr. Freud spews:

    In my local newspaper there has recently been a raging debate about evolution. It’s odd to see progressives who in the past would be writing about forward-thinking policy defending the science of evolution against arguments right out of the 19th Century.

    Compared to the anti-evolution wingers, No Wonder @37 sounds relatively sane. Okay, so he doesn’t want to provide legal legitimacy to gay folks. He drapes this in a religious view, but I wonder whether this is rooted in deeper, more personal fears.

    That, of course, is none of my business. I would, however, suggest that his logic is breathtakingly shaky to the point where a reasoned response seems pointless. No Wonder BELIEVES, and that is all that matters.

  36. 42

    thor spews:

    Outing a gay politician who has repeatedly voted against equal rights for gay people is no big deal. So what? It just isn’t important. Interesting! But not important.

    There were GOP senators who would have supported HB 1515 this past year. But the caucus decided that “majority rules” on the topic and all the GOP senators voted NO. HB 1515 lost by one vote. Because of this, it is highly likely there will be fewer GOP senators in 2007 and our legislature will finally include sexual orientation in our civil rights laws. (Perhaps in 2006 if somebody quits and is replaced by someone better.)

    The fact is that there are a whole lot of people active in the state GOP who treat gay people poorly. (Just as the entire GOP caucus of the state senate did this year and for the past 10 years.) So it is not surprise that any gay GOP politician would want to stay in the closet. That’s a huge problem for the GOP. They aren’t dealing with it well. And they are going to keep losing because of it.

    It doesn’t look good for the GOP. As party activists gain more say in selection of candidates for office, and as long as the vast majority of GOP party activists are rabid fundy christians, GOP candidates and lawmakers will be required to cater to them. That will mean there will be fewer GOP lawmakers and fewer statewide elected officials from the GOP.

    It is all really stupid on their part, especially given that HB 1515 was a very modest proposal for a very progressive state. Wait until they need to start running on marraige rights and they have nothing in their record but knee-jerk intolerance on civil rights.

  37. 43

    christmasghost spews:

    you all realize of course that goldy is once again screaming fire in a crowded theater just to self aggrandize, don’t you?[hint…he wants to be on the R-A-D-I-O and he doesn’t know how to go about it…]
    “i know somebody who might be gay and i MIGHT tell….”
    oh, brother.
    and goldy..pray tell…how would you know if they were gay or not?

  38. 44

    Richard Pope spews:

    CG @ 43

    Please refer to my posting above @ 19. Apparently, Goldy is claiming to have had homosexual relations with at least one GOP state senator. Read his posting on April 7, 2005, so that I don’t get things out of context, or get accused of putting words (or worse) into his mouth:

    http://www.horsesass.org/index.php?p=563

  39. 45

    NoWonder spews:

    Dr. Freud @ 41
    ‘I would, however, suggest that his logic is breathtakingly shaky to the point where a reasoned response seems pointless.’

    A reasoned response could have taken fewer words than what you did offer. You actually spoke volumes by ommission.

    ‘No Wonder BELIEVES, and that is all that matters.’

    I submit that you “believe” as well. We just have different items in our respective listings for right and wrong.

    Good day.

  40. 47

    NoWonder spews:

    Roger Rabbit @ 46

    That is correct. (This questions sounds like a setup – looking forward to seeing what that might be.)