National Commentary

Anything But Straight: All for the Glory

Somehow, the idea of furtive bathroom sex seemed more in vogue when pop icon George Michael was arrested. Now, the guy in the stall next to you is likely a gay obsessed mayor, an undercover cop or a crusty old conservative legislator. With such unappetizing menu choices, one has to be quite desperate and pathetic to try to find his man in the can – especially with the advent of the Internet, which can deliver a pick-up faster than a pizza.

So, the few remaining men who seek to cruise the commode are mostly married conservative hypocrites looking for love on the sly. Exhibit A is Larry Craig, a married Republican Senator from Idaho who pleaded guilty to soliciting a police officer for sex at the Minneapolis airport in June.

The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force pointed out that Craig supported both the Federal Marriage Amendment and Idaho's anti-same-sex marriage constitutional amendment. He is not supportive of nondiscrimination and hate crimes legislation that would extend protections to gay people and has even refused to pledge that his own office would not discriminate against LGBT people. (Was he afraid of temptation?)

The Senator's tortured attempts to explain away the obvious were as comical as they were tragic.

"At the time of this incident, I complained to the police that they were misconstruing my actions," Craig said. "I should have had the advice of counsel in resolving this matter. In hindsight, I should not have pled guilty. I was trying to handle this matter myself quickly and expeditiously."

How were they misconstruing it? We all know what it means if you shake it more than five times. The fact is, Craig was tapping his foot and reaching under the stall, and seemed to be quite adept at giving the arcane signals necessary for a fling between flights.

Yet, astoundingly, the Senator sounded a defiant note at his press conference implausibly denying his homosexuality. "I am not gay. I never have been gay," said Craig.

Airports can be quite boring and, perhaps, he was just a straight guy passing the time, rather than making a pass at a clandestine cop. But, this isn't the first time Craig has been tied to bathroom cruising. Activist extraordinaire Mike Rogers had previously revealed that Craig was a known cruiser at Washington's notorious Union Station restrooms. Yes, I also realize that there is little to do while waiting for trains. May I suggest the Senator travel by car -with a driver – next time?

How many of these incidents will it take before America realizes that the family values crowd is a big, fat fraud? They are a batch of moralizing molesters, pious pervs, closeted creeps and values voyeurs. It is time the right just closes shop and stops pointing fingers – because we have no idea where those sticky fingers have been.

In recent memory, we have been treated to Florida Republican Rep. Mark Foley's preoccupation with teenage pages; The National Association of Evangelical's leader Ted Haggard's working relationship with escort Mike Jones; Florida Republican legislator Bob Allen getting arrested in a park restroom for soliciting oral sex from a police officer; The arrest of Southern Baptist Convention leader Lonnie Latham in Oklahoma City on a lewdness complaint for allegedly propositioning a plainclothes policeman; and Indiana Young Republican National Federation leader Glenn Murphy resigning after police charged him with sexually assaulting a Young Republican friend, while his comrade was napping in a drunken stupor.

Forgive me if I missed a tawdry scandal, but I would need a Republican database of disgrace to keep track. Or, I could always call Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jim Naugle for the "facts." The mayor is so gay sex obsessed that he recently tried to raid the city's treasury to buy robo-johns to prevent gay men from getting it on. But, it turned out the mayor may actually have issues, when the police said gay bathroom sex was a non-issue.

If people, such as Naugle, have problems with restroom sex, they only have themselves to blame. Fundamentalism is the primary cause, not the solution to such behavior. People such as the moralizing mayor have made every effort to publicly shame gay people – inevitably driving some individuals to join conservative political movements and engage in shameful actions.

Interestingly, Fort Lauderdale televangelist D. James Kennedy, who Naugle praises as a great man, retired the same week that Sen. Craig's secret was revealed. Kennedy's church, Coral Ridge Ministries, was the lead sponsor of the 1998 million-dollar ex-gay "Truth In Love Campaign," that caused a national uproar. While the religious right heaps effusive praise on Kennedy, the Craig incident reminds us that Kennedy-type anti-gay crusades have probably lead more closeted married men to bathroom glory holes, than to the glory of God.

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