Before the February Illinois primary, Kirk, a Republican vying for President Obama's former senate seat, faced attacks from birther Andy Martin claiming that Kirk was gay. Kirk denied the claims, but now faces an attempted outing from the other side--the gay community.
Activist blogger Mike Rogers tends to target politicians with antigay voting records, and "outed" Sen. Larry Craig and Rep. Mark Foley. He was also featured in the film "Outrage" where he discussed closeted politicians who work against the gay community. In a Tuesday post on Rogers' BlogActive, he explained why he decided to bring up Kirk's sexuality now:
Until now, Mark Kirk elected not to play the typical Washington game. Instead of supporting his party's dismal record on gay rights, Kirk received Human Rights Campaign ratings of 67% in 2002, 88% in 2004, 76% in 2006 and 85% in 2008. That's more impressive than a lot of Democrats. I even let Kirk slide by when he didn't co-sponsor earlier legislation relating to the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell. My thoughts then were that he wasn't THAT bad on gay stuff and that the bill was going nowhere anyway.
Though the HRC has supported Kirk in the past, the group pledged their support to Democrat Alexi Giannoulias last week after Kirk voted against the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" repeal.
Rogers cited several sources who contacted him following Kirk's DADT vote. Two men, whose names were not given, claimed to have had sexual relations with Kirk while he was in college.
The post also claims that Kirk alluded to his homosexuality to Rogers himself at a 2004 party in Washington:
It was at that party that I met Mark Kirk. I was introduced to him by the person I came with and at the time did not realize he was a member of the House. As my friend walked away, Kirk asked me if the man who introduced us was "single or attached." When I said that he had a partner, Kirk replied disappointingly, "oh, well." At the end of that interaction I walked away and didn't think much of it at the time.
Kirk, who has no children and divorced his wife Kimberly Vertolli last year, denied that he was gay during Martin's attacks in 2009. Vertolli also insisted to Chicago gay blog Feast of Fun that her ex-husband is not gay.
Frank Sennett, editor-in-chief of Time Out Chicago, interviewed Rogers about his Larry Craig outing in 2007, where the blogger explained who he chooses to out and when:
"Rogers acknowledged gay legislators don't have to support gay marriage. However, he added, 'You have to be honest with the American people that you're voting against a group you're a part of. If politicians want to say they're straight and then have sex in bathrooms [referring to Larry Craig] after voting against gay rights, that doesn't work.'
The Kirk campaign has yet to respond to Rogers' claims.