August 30th, 2007
Idaho Sen. Larry Craig’s arrest and subsequent guilty plea for soliciting sex in a Minneapolis airport public restroom continues to dominate the airwaves and the blogosphere. As the discussions and reactions continue to unfold, I’ve noticed a very significant double standard taking shape.
Now I know that a few in the gay community want to try to paint Sen. Craig as a victim of police entrapment in an operation presumably designed to single out gay men while somehow excluding straight people. But complaining about this being a double standard ignore the obvious: straight people generally don’t use public restrooms, at least not for that purpose. They may use airplanes (mile high club, anyone?), parks, beaches, roadsides, and drive-in theaters, and they sometimes get busted when police receive complaints about it. But straight couples generally don’t use gender-segregated restrooms, for obvious practical reasons.
And while I’m well aware of the history of overly-aggressive police campaigns that have targeted gay people in more private settings or for more innocuous behavior, let’s not forget another key point. This was a public men’s room at a public airport visited by members of the public. There’s nothing private about it.
When I go to a public restroom, the last thing I want is some dirty old man’s blue eyes looking into my stall trying to decide whether I’m tap-worthy. And the second-to-the-last thing I want to encounter in a public restroom is someone who has found someone else tap-worthy. Please people, when you find someone you want to get down and dirty with, do what any other normal self-respecting person would: get a room, for crying out loud!
So I’m all for ensuring that our public restrooms are used for their intended purposes. And I’m grateful that, in my experience at least, this problem appears to be an extremely rare phenomenon. Either that or nobody has ever found me tap-worthy. I’m actually okay with it either way.
No, there’s no double standard there as far as I’m concerned. The double standard we really need to be concerned about is the reaction among others in the GOP to the revelation that Sen. Larry Craig pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct — a misdemeanor.
Yesterday, GOP party leaders reacted to this misdemeanor by stripping Sen. Craig of his committee leadership posts, and Senators John McCain (R-Az) and Norm Coleman (R-Mn) have called for Sen. Craig’s resignation.
Sen. Craig may be a hypocrite, but that doesn’t automatically disqualify him from the Senate. If it did, they’d never have a quorum. And copping to a misdemeanor shouldn’t disqualify anyone either, unless it disqualifies everyone who cops to a misdemeanor. But as it stands now, it doesn’t.
Just last month, Sen. David Vitter (R-La) admitted to using the services of the so-called “D.C. Madam.” And while Vitter fully admitted his guilt publicly, he never had to do it in the justice system. And he probably won’t since the statute of limitations has passed for solicitation — another misdemeanor.
In stark contrast to the fallout for Sen. Craig’s misdemeanor, I don’t remember any GOP calls for Sen. Vitter’s resignation, nor have there been any sanctions by the GOP leadership levied against the man. In fact, when Vitter spoke before his Senate colleagues about the situation, he was greeted with a round of applause. Where were the calls for Vitter’s ethics investigation?
Can anyone honestly look at this situation and not see it as anything but a double standard?
Apparently the Log Cabin Republicans can’t. They stopped just short of calling for Craig’s resignation without a single mention of Vitter. (Update: In an email alert, LCR makes their call for Craig’s resignation explicit) I find that especially egregious. Surprisingly, it’s the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force who has accurately denounced the unequal treatment between Vitter and Craig.
Believe me, the last person in the world I want to defend is a dirty old man found lurking in public restrooms. Larry Craig may be a “nasty, naughty boy,” but if you take a hard honest look at the situation, either Sen. Craig is getting a really raw deal or Sen. Vitter has gotten away scott-free with “conduct unbecoming a senator.”
As long as Vitter remains in the Senate, Craig should be allowed to serve out his term (which expires in 2008), and the decision on future terms should be left to the good people of Idaho. But if the GOP insists on driving Craig out of town on a rail, then they had better hitch Vitter to the same cart.
Update (Aug 30): This post was updated to reflect the fact that the Log Cabin Republicans did not explicitly call for Craig’s resignation.
Update (Aug 31): Log Cabin Republicans clarify their call for Craig’s resignation:
Log Cabin has been providing a strong voice in the midst of the scandal involving Senator Larry Craig (R-ID). His behavior has been inappropriate and illegal. His explanation is not credible. He should take responsibility for his poor judgment and illegal behavior by resigning.
Again, no mention of Vitter.
Update (Sept 1): As BTB contributing author Timothy Kincaid points out, Patrick Sammon, president of the Log Cabin Republicans is, well, mentioning Sen. Vitter in media appearances. I’m glad he’s bringing this up, but so far Sammon’s only calling on one Senator to resign and not two. I hope this changes.
In this original BTB Investigation, we unveil the tragic story of Kirk Murphy, a four-year-old boy who was treated for “cross-gender disturbance” in 1970 by a young grad student by the name of George Rekers. This story is a stark reminder that there are severe and damaging consequences when therapists try to ensure that boys will be boys.
When we first reported on three American anti-gay activists traveling to Kampala for a three-day conference, we had no idea that it would be the first report of a long string of events leading to a proposal to institute the death penalty for LGBT people. But that is exactly what happened. In this report, we review our collection of more than 500 posts to tell the story of one nation’s embrace of hatred toward gay people. This report will be updated continuously as events continue to unfold. Check here for the latest updates.
In 2005, the Southern Poverty Law Center wrote that “[Paul] Cameron’s ‘science’ echoes Nazi Germany.” What the SPLC didn”t know was Cameron doesn’t just “echo” Nazi Germany. He quoted extensively from one of the Final Solution’s architects. This puts his fascination with quarantines, mandatory tattoos, and extermination being a “plausible idea” in a whole new and deeply disturbing light.
On February 10, I attended an all-day “Love Won Out” ex-gay conference in Phoenix, put on by Focus on the Family and Exodus International. In this series of reports, I talk about what I learned there: the people who go to these conferences, the things that they hear, and what this all means for them, their families and for the rest of us.
Prologue: Why I Went To “Love Won Out”
Part 1: What’s Love Got To Do With It?
Part 2: Parents Struggle With “No Exceptions”
Part 3: A Whole New Dialect
Part 4: It Depends On How The Meaning of the Word "Change" Changes
Part 5: A Candid Explanation For "Change"
Using the same research methods employed by most anti-gay political pressure groups, we examine the statistics and the case studies that dispel many of the myths about heterosexuality. Download your copy today!
And don‘t miss our companion report, How To Write An Anti-Gay Tract In Fifteen Easy Steps.
Anti-gay activists often charge that gay men and women pose a threat to children. In this report, we explore the supposed connection between homosexuality and child sexual abuse, the conclusions reached by the most knowledgeable professionals in the field, and how anti-gay activists continue to ignore their findings. This has tremendous consequences, not just for gay men and women, but more importantly for the safety of all our children.
Anti-gay activists often cite the “Dutch Study” to claim that gay unions last only about 1½ years and that the these men have an average of eight additional partners per year outside of their steady relationship. In this report, we will take you step by step into the study to see whether the claims are true.
Tony Perkins’ Family Research Council submitted an Amicus Brief to the Maryland Court of Appeals as that court prepared to consider the issue of gay marriage. We examine just one small section of that brief to reveal the junk science and fraudulent claims of the Family “Research” Council.
The FBI’s annual Hate Crime Statistics aren’t as complete as they ought to be, and their report for 2004 was no exception. In fact, their most recent report has quite a few glaring holes. Holes big enough for Daniel Fetty to fall through.