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October 13 2006
SGN.org
Volume 34
Issue 41
 
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Foley: Is he Gay?
Foley: Is he Gay?
by Janice Van Cleve Special to the SGN

Mark Foley, disgraced Republican Congressman from Florida, solicited sex from minors. Jim West, disgraced mayor of Spokane, solicited sex from job applicants. Both claimed to be Gay after being exposed. How is the Gay community supposed to respond to these people and to the media when these scandals come to light? It goes to the basic question of what it means to be Gay.

Mark Foley and Jim West are both perverts. The media, the public and the Gay community agree on that point. The critical question is: does their behavior reflect upon the Gay community or upon the heterosexual community? Or does it reflect only on themselves?

Claiming to be Gay after being exposed for their perverted behavior does not make Foley or West Gay. They are claiming to be Gay only to get some sympathy since Gays are no longer a pariah, but a recognized legitimate segment of American society. Foley is also claiming to be alcoholic and abused by Catholic priests in his childhood. The fact is that neither alcohol nor childhood sexual abuse has anything to do with being Gay. Sexual orientation, Gay or straight, is a fundamental part of each person's identity. What somebody does with their orientation is a totally separate subject. Bill Clinton is a practicing heterosexual. The fact that he is also a successful womanizer does not reflect on all other heterosexual men, does it? Other than to, perhaps, make them jealous! We all have sexual orientations. We don't all solicit pages and job applicants for sex.

Right wing propagandists are leaping into the fray to claim that this is normal Gay behavior and that Foley was first and foremost Gay and only secondarily Republican. This is total bullshit. Mark Foley was the darling of the Republican Party. He held high office and guaranteed Republican domination of the House. The Republican majority overlooked Foley's perversions just like they overlooked Bob Barr's perversions. Barr, the chief sponsor of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, was divorced 3 times and was caught licking whipped cream off a stripper's breasts at a Washington DC party. The Republican majority overlooked George Bush's alcoholism and cocaine habit. They overlooked Dick Cunningham's kickbacks, Jack Abramoff's payoffs, and a lot of other corrupt practices; so long as these folks supported their agenda. But when one of these get caught, the Repubicans claim they were really Gay or alcoholic or abused as a child.

Foley went to alcohol rehab just like Mel Gibson did after his anti-Semitic comments. Mel Gibson's anti-Semitism is no more connected to alcohol than Foley's creepy emails to Congressional pages. Both of these people have no home in either the Gay or heterosexual or alcoholic recovery communities. They are not sick - they are corrupt. They do not belong in rehab or counseling - they belong in jail. The Republican leadership also belongs in jail. Dennis Hastert knew about Foley and did nothing for months (or longer). John Boehner, Republican House Majority Leader also knew about Foley and did nothing. Boehner is suing our Washington State Representative Jim McDermott over tapes McDermott released to the press that exposed Republican corruption. The Culture of Corruption fostered by the Republican domination of the House and Senate demonstrates only too well the maxim that "power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely."

The LGBT community should reject Mark Foley just as we rejected Jim West. Neither one deserves our pity, our understanding, or the legitimacy of our name. A pervert is a pervert and belongs neither to the Gay nor the straight community.

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