Soliciting sex in a public restroom is gross. And it is illegal. That type of lewd behavior has no place in society as a whole, much less the Senate. Although we like to maintain that our public institutions are beacons of upright moral behavior, we all know that our elected and non-elected officials are as fallible as the rest of us, and placed in a position of power, quite possibly more so. When Senator Larry Craig allegedly propositioned a man in a men’s room stall, he betrayed the trust of his constituents to uphold the law, and for that, he should be pilloried, to a degree. But Senator Craig is also in the unfortunate position of living in a time when being a homosexual, and a public figure, means never being given the chance to say you’re sorry.
The Republican Party has been battered the last couple of years by the holier-than-thou suddenly being thrust out of the closet against their will. From Congressman Mark Foley, to Pastor Ted Haggard, and now to Craig, the GOP seems confronted every few months with some of its moral banner holders having been caught not just being gay, but being gay and perverted.
Because of the effects moral hypocrisy has on their chances to win elections, the GOP is coming down hard on Senator Craig. The news is full of fellow Senators calling on Craig to resign, his defense limited to his own and his wife’s defiant tone. Senator Craig is being hung out to dry. Whether or not this is appropriate for someone who pled guilty to a misdemeanor is one’s own opinion, but it’s important to remember one thing that seems to be getting lost: there is nothing wrong with being homosexual.
Larry Craig, and other flag wavers in the GOP like him, are members of a political party that disagrees wholeheartedly with that statement. Part of their strategy to win elections entails demonizing homosexuals, and painting all homosexual behavior as immoral, a deadly sin, what have you, with the effect that the big story with Craig is not that he was soliciting sex in a public place, but that he’s gay. To be sure, the press that broke the story loves nothing more than a hypocrite caught red-handed practicing what they rail against, but this story has provided yet another opportunity for the purveyors of intolerance to ply their wares.
When Larry Craig does resign, as he is expected to do soon, he will do so not as punishment for lewd behavior, but because he committed the unspeakable crime of being an outed gay Republican. As an agent of intolerance himself, getting Craig out of government should be a good thing for gays, and for progressive society as a whole, but this feels like a lynching.