To carry on with the theme of congressional hypocrisy, we continue with the list of offenders who talked one way and behaved another:
Phil Hinkle, a member of the Indiana House of Representatives who voted for a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, likely did not have marriage on his mind when he asked an 18-year-old male he met on Craigslist up to his hotel room. When the young man realized that he had been invited under false pretenses, he changed his mind about the encounter. Hinkle tried to pay him off, but word got out. Hinkle refused to admit he was gay but declined to seek reelection. Bruce Barclay, chairman of Pennsylvania’s Cumberland County Board of Commissioners, was described as a “rising star” in Republican politics. He was very outspoken about his belief that homosexuality was a sin, but he was then caught with hundreds of tapes of him having sex with male prostitutes. Idaho Republican senator Larry Craig’s “Bathroomgate” moment came with his arrest for solicitation of a cop in an airport bathroom. On his arrest, Craig declared that he adopted “a wide stance when going to the bathroom,” adding that he may have inadvertently touched the foot of the arresting officer.
After Randy Boehning, a member of the North Dakota House of Representatives, voted against gay rights, he was outed on Grindr, the self-proclaimed world’s largest social networking app for gay, bi, trans, and queer people, with explicit photos and messages.
Married Republican Oklahoma state senator Ralph Shortey was caught in a motel room with a 17-year-old boy to whom he had offered money for sex. The boy’s father called police. Shortey was arrested. An FBI investigation found that Shortey had contacted numerous young men on Craigslist to exchange pornography. Shortey pleaded guilty to the child-sex trafficking charge.
Vice President Mike Pence has been criticized strongly by members of the LGBTQ community for stances he has taken that negatively impact that community. He sometimes attributes those positions to his religion.
Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, was one of the candidates running for the 2020 Democratic nomination for the Presidency. He is openly gay, he is married to his husband, and he is an active member of the Episcopal Church. Mayor Pete expressed his issue with Vice President Pence with two widely quoted statements: The vice president is entitled to his religious beliefs. My problem is when those religious beliefs are used as an excuse to harm other people.
If me being gay was a choice, it was a choice that was made far, far above my pay grade. And that’s the thing I wish the Mike Pences of the world would understand. That if you got a problem with who I am, your problem is not with me — your quarrel, sir, is with my creator.
In a public forum, a question was posed to Senator Elizabeth Warren about how she would respond to someone who said that his faith teaches him that a marriage is between one man and one woman. Her response, which quickly went viral on the internet, was brief and to the point:
that she would suggest that he just marry one woman. “I’m cool with that,” she said, clearly signaling that she believes in allowing him to act on his beliefs, and in turn allowing others to follow their respective beliefs.
It’s clear there are conflicting views regarding LGBTQ issues and the conservative agenda. It is doubtful that personal feelings will change with new laws. However, while people are entitled to have their opinions, as a society, we need to let others live their life the way they want to, as long as they don’t try to impose their beliefs on others. And our laws need to reflect that. Remember the mantra: live and let live.