Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Larry Craig Gay? Fine By Me!

CNN reports today that Idaho Senator Larry Craig is rapidly losing support in his home state. The Conservative Senator is under fire from both the left and the right for allegedly engaging in lewd conduct in a Minneapolis Airport restroom. The Senator, who pleaded guilty to a charge of Disorderly Conduct, is vehemently denying that he is gay, though rumours have persisted for many years.

There are many things about this case which are strange, not least among them this: If the Senator was doing nothing wrong, why did he plead guilty? He claims that "In pleading guilty, I overreacted in Minneapolis because of the stress of the Idaho Statesman's investigation and the rumors it has fueled around Idaho." Apparently the Senator thought the best way to quell said rumours was by admitting guilt to a charge that would lead people to draw exactly that conclusion.

Not exactly the brightest strategy.

But beyond that, who cares? While this story is certainly made of the stuff that sells advertising, whether or not Senator Craig is (hushed whisper) G-A-Y, really isn't the point. What should be the point, is the following:

• If in fact Senator Craig is guilty of no wrong doing, why did he plead guilty?

• If he "overreacted" due to stress caused by rumours, is he in a mental state that leaves him fit to serve?

• Regardless of his sexual orientation, Senator Craig has; 1) been a strong opponent of expanding the federal hate crimes law to cover offenses motivated by anti-gay bias, 2) voted against outlawing employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, and 3) strongly supported a constitutional amendment banning same sex marriage. Not exactly a record to be proud of.

It boils down to this: If Senator Craig chooses to resign or decides not to seek re-election, it should not be because of his sexual orientation.

Rather, if he is gay, then he is in conflict with his inner self and should take some time to resolve it. If he is not gay, then his behaviour is at best bizzare and calls into question his competency to make the types of judgements that a United States is required to make.

It's probably time for him to go, but let's make sure it's for the right reasons.


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