Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Rep Foley Comes Out

Former Florida Congressman Mark Foley came out of the closet on Tuesday. He is in the middle of a sex scandal involving teenage congressional pages.

His lawyer delivered a statement to the press on Tuesday. He said that Mark Foley was molested when he was a child by a clergy member. Mark grew up in Newton, Massachusetts where there have been many cases of child molestation by Catholic priests.

At the end of the statement Foley's lawyer said, "Finally, Mark Foley wants you to know that he is a gay man."

So there you have it. We had another closeted gay Republican Congressman in the House. There had been rumors that Foley was gay for a while. In 2003 a newspaper in Florida reported that he was gay. Foley actually held a press conference to denounce the report. However he refused to answer any question about the subject, saying his sexual orientation had nothing to do with his duties as a lawmaker.

That is true, but the problem is not whether he is gay or not. The problem is his involvement with minors.

“Gay or straight, Democrat or Republican, it is completely inexcusable for an adult to have this kind of communication with a minor,” said Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign.

No matter what happens, the radical right will use this against the gay community. They will try to say that we are all pedophiles and that we are sick people. MassResistance has already started the attacks, saying "
Apparently, Rep. Mark Foley is homosexual. And like many homosexual men, he likes young teen boys." I am not surprised by these ridicolous statements though. They have been saying stuff like this for years and will continue to do so no matter what happens.

I am interested in seeing what happens with the House leadership. Many gay Democrats have joined House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi in raising questions about whether House Republican leaders deliberately withheld information they learned last year about Foley's actions. If that is the case there will be big problems for the Republicans.

In the end it saddens me that Mark Foley was too ashamed about his sexual orientation and about being molested as a child to receive the help that he needs. I wish we could be celebrating the coming out of a Congressman. Instead, this whole story is just sad for everyone involved.


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