Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Lewd Act or Lewd Response?

So, I haven't really been paying attention to the recent controversy surrounding Idaho Republican Senator Larry Craig. Frankly, given the Republicans' track record of sex scandals, I cynically assumed he had done something involving minors of the same sex. However, after I read a recent article from CNN, I discovered that earlier this summer Craig was arrested by a plain-clothes cop in the Minneapolis airport for attempting to pick him up. Now, I personally don't find anything wrong with a man trying to pick up another man in an airport bathroom. No money was shown, exchanged, or offered by Craig and the cop was clearly an adult. Nonetheless, he plead guilty to the misdemeanor and paid a $500 fine. Now, apparently, the press and taken hold of this.

Here are my thoughts: a) It's fucked up that we live in a world where a man (or a woman) is so afraid to be openly homosexual that they have to pick people up from a hiding place in a bathroom stall (and that given the fact that we do live in a highly homophobic society that does have real consequences for many LGBT individuals such as loss of employment, ostracism, or violence) b) that given said reality, it is against the LAW to be secretive about your sexuality even if it between two consenting adults and cops try and take advantage of this extremely vulnerable but probably very necessary act for many people and c) that the Republican party is proposing and ethics investigation because one of their flock shows a glimmer of not being straight as an arrow.

That said, my sympathy for Craig does not run deep as he has biggoted track record including support for DOMA, a federal constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, has earned top ratings from social conservative groups such as the American Family Association, Concerned Women for America and the Family Research Council, and probably most dispicabley he:

opposed expanding the federal hate crimes law to cover offenses motivated by anti-gay bias and, in 1996, voted against a bill that would have outlawed employment discrimination based on sexual orientation, which failed by a single vote in the Senate.

Frankly, his claim that he is the victim of a 'witch hunt' is ludicrous considering his circumstances. The worst thing he faces is the boot from the Republican party and a soon to be rocky marriage. This case highlights the reality for millions of LGBT individuals though who do face the threat of jail the next time they try to pick someone up. And given the consequences of revealing one's sexuality to a hateful person in a bar, a cop, your spouse, or your boss, Craig should count himself lucky that an early retirement from the US Senate is the worst of his worries.