Claims over Charlie Crist's alleged homosexuality have gotten particularly ugly in recent weeks, though the former Florida governor has attempted to quash the reports as "a bunch of delusional lies."
The allegations against Crist first surfaced in a Florida Department of Law Enforcement Investigative Report on former Republican Party of Florida Chairman Jim Greer. The documents reportedly contained details of an exchange between Greer's attorney Damon Chase and John Morgan, whose law firm Crist works at in Florida. A line about Crist having "to be a sick son of a b***h to kiss Porky the Pig (in reference to Greer)" are among the more sordid segments to emerge.
Of course, Crist is hardly the first to battle claims about his sexuality. For these political figures, the public eye is always there: to catch the act of soliciting gay sex while dressed in lingerie, to condemn a suggestive foot-tap beneath a bathroom stall, and so on.
Interestingly, many of those to be implicated in sexual encounters with same-sex partners have actively opposed lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights while in office. And as history has proven, the allegations alone are often enough to nullify a budding political career, particularly among those who rely on support from conservative voters.
Take a look at 25 politicians to battle gay allegations below:
The former Florida governor <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/08/charlie-crist-gay-affair-_n_1582591.html" target="_hplink">was hit with allegations he paid two men to conceal gay affairs</a> in June 2012. The charges were revealed in documents obtained by local station WTSP, relating to the investigation of former Republican Party of Florida Chairman Jim Greer. A Florida Department of Law Enforcement Investigative Report <a href="http://www.addictinginfo.org/2012/06/09/florida/" target="_hplink">reportedly contains details</a> on an exchange between Chase and John Morgan, whose law firm Crist works at in Florida. "Morgan stated that if Crist were homosexual why would he try to kiss Greer, specifically stating, '(Crist) would have to be a sick son of a b***h to try to kiss Porky the Pig' in reference to Greer. Additionally, Morgan sent Chase an email indicating that it was his opinion that Greer was using Chase to extort Charlie (Crist) with embarrassing questions. Morgan indicated in his email that these types of questions were the same thing as asking, 'when was the last time you f**ked the neighbor's sheep' or 'are you still beating your wife." Meanwhile, Crist has <a href="http://www.wtsp.com/news/local/article/258551/8/Report-Charlie-Crist-paid-men-to-hide-gay-affair" target="_hplink">reportedly slammed the allegations</a> as "a bunch of delusional lies."
The former Idaho senator lost the support of his fellow Republicans when he <a href="http://articles.cnn.com/2007-08-28/politics/craig.arrest_1_idaho-republican-senator-craig-airport-bathroom?_s=PM:POLITICS" target="_hplink">was arrested in June 2007 during a sex sting at a Minneapolis airport bathroom</a>, which had been targeted by police following complaints of lewd beavhior there. After Craig was caught allegedly soliciting an undercover officer for sex, he initially pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct, but later said he erred in doing so, <a href="http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=14114915" target="_hplink">according to NPR</a>. "Let me be clear: I am not gay and never have been," Craig <a href="http://articles.cnn.com/2007-08-28/politics/craig.arrest_1_idaho-republican-senator-craig-airport-bathroom?_s=PM:POLITICS" target="_hplink">was quoted by CNN as saying</a>. "I should not have kept this arrest to myself, and should have told my family and friends about it. I wasn't eager to share this failure, but I should have done so anyway." Though Craig announced his intention to resign from the Senate at Sept. 1, 2007 news conference, he later decided to finish the remainder of his term.
Democratic Governor McGreevey of New Jersey, who had faced rumors about his sexuality in political circles for years, <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2004/08/13/nyregion/13mcgreevey.html?pagewanted=1" target="_hplink">disclosed</a> that he was gay and had had an affair with another man, and that he would resign more than a year before his term would have expired. With his wife and parents standing beside him, the governor said that his decision to step down from office was prompted by the conclusion that the circumstances surrounding the affair would impair his ability to govern, with many suspecting that he was referring to an extortion attempt made by a former aide, Golan Cipel.
Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu, once considered one of Arizona's rising Republican political stars, confirmed he was gay in February 2012 after reports surfaced that he had threatened a Mexican ex-boyfriend with deportation. <a href="http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/2012-02-16/news/paul-babeu-s-mexican-ex-lover-says-sheriff-s-attorney-threatened-him-with-deportation/" target="_blank">The Phoenix New Times reported</a> at the time that Babeu, who had become one of the faces of the anti-illegal immigration fight in Arizona and nationwide, threatened a 34-year-old man identified only as Jose with deportation if he disclosed details of their years-long gay affair. A number of local media outlets, among them the <a href="http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/2012-02-16/news/paul-babeu-s-mexican-ex-lover-says-sheriff-s-attorney-threatened-him-with-deportation/" target="_blank"><em>New Times</em></a> and Fox News affiliate KSAZ, published photos which appeared to be of a barechested Babeu, which had been uploaded to a profile allegedly belonging to the sheriff on the gay dating website Adam4Adam.com. The scandal eventually cost Babeu <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/11/paul-babeu-congress-gop-sheriff_n_1508851.html" target="_blank">his congressional bid</a>, as well as <a href="http://talkingpointsmemo.com/entries/babeu-stepping-down-from-role-with-romney-campaign" target="_blank">his role as Arizona co-chair</a> of the Mitt Romney for President campaign.
Troy King, the Alabama Attorney General who was reportedly <a href="http://www.edgeboston.com/index.php?ch=news&sc=glbt&sc2=news&sc3=&id=77358" target="_hplink">caught</a> by his wife in bed with male assistant, had made anti-gay rhetoric part of his political mantra.
In 2011, it was <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/08/27/roberto-arrango-puerto-rican-senator-explicit-photos-_n_939104.html" target="_hplink">revealed</a> that Puerto Rican Senator Robert Arango, who was a vocal enemy against gay marriage and rights in San Juan, had posted shirtless photos of himself on the gay dating mobile app <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dj-louie-xiv/grindr_b_1471723.html" target="_hplink">Grindr</a>. Amidst the ensuing controversy, Arango <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/08/28/roberto-arango-puerto-rico_n_939714.html" target="_hplink">resigned</a>.
In 2011, New York Senator Carl Kruger plead guilty to corruption charges and was <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/27/carl-kruger-sentenced-state-senator-7-years-bribery-corruption_n_1458715.html" target="_hplink">sentenced</a> to seven years in prison. Kruger, who had <a href="http://thenewcivilrightsmovement.com/gay-marriage-hits-home-for-ny-senator-carl-kruger/news/2009/12/14/5887" target="_hplink">voted against</a> marriage equality in the New York State, was outed as gay amidst the controversy, as he had used bribe money to fix up a Brooklyn mansion with his "intimate associate" and co-conspirator, gynecologist Michael Turano.
Robert L. Traynam
In 2005, Robert L. Traynam, who was the Director of Communication for Senator Rick Santorum, was <a href="http://www.blogactive.com/?p=265" target="_hplink">outed to the public</a> by blogger Mike Rogers. Although Traynam was openly gay and claimed he was already out to the Senator, the fact that he was working for, and continues to defend, someone so opposed to LGBT rights <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/06/chris-matthews-santorum-gay-robert-traynham_n_1188992.html" target="_hplink">continues</a> to anger critics.
A congressman from 1988-2009, McCrery was accused of being gay by Gary Cathey, founder of ACT UP Shreveport, who said McCrery used his Louisiana college fraternity as a front for gay activity. According to Chris Bull of <em>The Advocate</em>, four others have corroborated Cathey's statement. At the time of his retirement in 2009, McCrery was serving on the powerful Ways and Means Committee. McCrery has denied being gay and is one of the subjects of the 2009 HBO documentary about closeted gay rights opponents, <a href="http://www.examiner.com/article/hbo-debuts-outrage-a-documentary-about-gay-politicians" target="_hplink">"Outrage"</a>.
Gurley was the Field Director of The Republican National Convention which, in 2004, mobilized opposition against gay rights legislation. Blogger Mike Rogers <a href="http://www.blogactive.com/?p=1034" target="_hplink">outed</a> Gurley, although in a 2009 <a href="http://www.blogactive.com/?p=1034" target="_hplink">interview</a> with NPR, Gurley claims he had been open with his sexuality "for many years to many people." Still, the public revelation raised a few eye brows and was covered in the HBO documentary, <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Outrage_(2009_film)" target="_hplink">"Outrage"</a>. Today, Gurley serves on board of pro-LGBT organization <a href="http://www.equalitync.org/" target="_hplink">Equality North Carolina</a>.
In 2010 Rekers, who is a gay conversion therapist and cofounder of the Family Research Council -- a D.C.-based anti-gay lobbying group that has become a standard-bearer of the nation's extreme right wing -- <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/05/05/george-rekers-anti-gay-ac_n_565142.html" target="_hplink">was caught</a> returning from a 10-day trip to Europe with a male escort he found on <a href="http://www.rentboy.com/" target="_hplink">Rentboy.com</a>. The Rentboy <a href="http://blogs.miaminewtimes.com/riptide/2010/05/george_rekers_is_a_homosexual_says_escort.php" target="_hplink">confirmed</a> Rekers' homosexuality, saying, "It's a situation where he's going against homosexuality when he is a homosexual."
In 2010, Sen. Roy Ashburn (R-Calif.) <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/03/08/roy-ashburn-im-gay_n_490297.html" target="_hplink">was arrested</a> for drunk driving after leaving a gay Sacramento nightclub and in turn came out of the closet in a radio interview. Ashburn, who had been a fierce opponent of gay rights, claimed his 15-year crusade against proposed gay-rights laws in the California statehouse stemmed from his desire to vote the way his constituents wanted.
Spokane Mayor Jim West faced accusations of child molestation stemming from <a href="http://www.spokesmanreview.com/jimwest/story.asp?ID=050505_westmain" target="_hplink"><em><em>The Spokesman-Review</em></em>'s three-year investigation</a> and interviews with two felons who said West fondled them and forced them to perform sexual acts on him when they were Boy Scouts. West confirmed to <em>The Spokesman-Review</em> that he offered gifts, favors and a City Hall internship during Internet chats with a man he believed was 18, but vehemently denied the molestation charges.
In 2007, Allen -- a Republican member of the Florida House of Representatives -- was arrested after allegedly agreeing to pay $20 to perform oral sex on an undercover police officer in the men's room of a public park, <a href="http://www.edgeboston.com/index.php?ch=news&sc=glbt&sc2=news&sc3=&id=52705" target="_hplink">according to the Associated Press</a>. Though Allen resigned later that year, the former politician has always maintained his innocence, albeit with some dubious-sounding excuses, including that he had sought refuge in the restroom because he was afraid of the undercover officer, who was black, as well as other African-American men in the park. "I certainly wasn't there to have sex with anybody and certainly wasn't there to exchange money for it," Allen <a href="http://www.towleroad.com/2007/08/rep-bob-allen-c.html" target="_hplink">is quoted as saying</a>. "This [undercover officer] is a pretty stocky black guy, and there's other black guys around in the park that -- you know! I said they're around here, you ought to know about that."
Edward L. Schrock
In 2004, the two-term Virginia congressman resigned after voicemail messages he <a href="http://rawstory.com/exclusives/byrne/schrock_resigns_gay_phone_sex_tapes_830.htm" target="_hplink">reportedly left on a gay phone sex hotline</a> were released. The 63-year-old Republican, a known LGBT rights opponent, did not address the allegations during his resignation, stating only that issues had arisen that "will not allow my campaign to focus on the real issues facing our nation and region," <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A47194-2004Aug30.html" target="_hplink">according to the <em>Washington Post</em>. </a> At least one of Schrock's messages was uncovered by LGBT activist Mike Rogers, who published the clip on his blog and told the<em> Post</em> that he hoped to expose the congressman's hypocrisy in leading a secret gay life. Rogers noted at the time: "Why would my community protect him? He's the enemy." Photo via Walt Stoneburner at <a href="http://www.flickr.com/people/waltstoneburner/" target="_hplink">Flickr.com</a>
<a href="http://www.indystar.com/article/20110824/LOCAL1804/108240311/Hinkle-paid-young-man-80-encounter?odyssey=mod|mostcom" target="_hplink">As <em>The Indianapolis Star</em> reported</a>, the Indiana Republican state lawmaker resisted calls to resign after allegedly offering a young man up to $140 "for a really good time" via Craigslist in 2011. Hinkle <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/08/25/phil-hinkle-gay_n_936919.html" target="_hplink">reportedly responded </a>to a listing in which Kameryn Gibson indicated that he was 20 years old. According to the <em>Star</em>, however, Gibson says he is actually just 18. The lawmaker <a href="http://www.theindychannel.com/politics/28965410/detail.html" target="_hplink">eventually admitted to making arrangements</a> to meet Gibson in person, though he denied any intention of pursuing a sexual encounter. "I don't know what was going through my mind," he said at the time. "I don't know why I did what I did."
Curtis, who served as a Republican member of the Washington State House of Representatives from 2005 to 2007, and had voted against a domestic partnership bill, and a bill that would have outlawed discrimination based on sexual orientation, was <a href="http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2007/11/01/another-gop-lawmaker-in-gay-sex-scandal/" target="_hplink">found to have dressed in women's clothing and paid</a> a 26-year old male for sex. Afterwards, according to Curtis, the man attempted to extort $1,000 from him, in return for not revealing Curtis' 'gay lifestyle' to his wife. He reported the extortion to Spokane police, resulting in a very public investigation and his subsequent resignation.
During this Mississippi congressman's 1980 re-election campaign he admitted that he was arrested for exposing himself to an undercover cop at the Iwo Jima memorial in 1976, but blamed it on alcoholism and personal problems, rather than being gay. In 1981, he was <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/1981/02/05/us/rep-hinson-of-mississippi-arrested-in-the-capital-on-a-morals-charge.html" target="_hplink">arrested again</a>, this time for engaging in oral sex in a bathroom in the House of Representatives with a Library of Congress clerk 10 years his junior. Hinson, though originally attributing this act to personal turmoil, resigned from Congress and soon afterwards came out as gay. He spent the rest of his life as a gay rights activist and died of a respiratory failure resulting from AIDS at the age of 53.
Glenn Murphy Jr.
In 2007, the Indiana-based Republican Party Chairman was charged with class B felony criminal deviate conduct <a href="http://advanceindiana.blogspot.com/2007/08/questions-surround-rising-indiana-gop.html" target="_hplink">after performing unwanted oral sex</a> on a man who had allegedly passed out after a party at Murphy's sister's home. <a href="http://newsandtribune.com/clarkcounty/x519371512/Glenn-Murphy-Jr-charged-with-class-B-felony" target="_hplink">As Indiana's<em> News & Tribune</em> reported</a>, Murphy, who was the president of the Young Republicans National Federation at the time of the incident, originally claimed that the act had been consensual, but eventually plead guilty, ending his once-promising political career. Photo via Scott Meis Photography at <a href="http://www.flickr.com/people/bottspot/" target="_hplink">Flickr.com</a>
In Congress, Bauman established a reputation as a staunch conservative, often criticizing the state of morality in the United States. He was a founding member of several conservative activist groups including the Young Americans for Freedom (YAF) and the American Conservative Union (ACU), where he served both as national chairman. In 1980, while running for re-election, his own morality was questioned when he was charged for attempting to solicit sex from a 16-year-old male prostitute. After the charges were made public, Bauman said he was suffering from alcoholism and entered himself into a court-supervised rehabilitation program, which, upon successful completion, resulted in the charges being dropped. Bauman stated he would continue his re-election campaign, but was defeated by Roy Dyson, who wasn't considered a serious contender before the charges were filed against Bauman.
Representative Mark Foley (R-Fla.) had chaired the House caucus on missing and exploited children and was credited with writing the sexual-predator provisions of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006, which Bush signed in July. Ironic, considering it was <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/09/29/AR2006092901574.html" target="_hplink">reported in 2006</a> that he was sending sexually explicit Internet messages to at least one underage male page. No charges were made and there was no physical sexual contact with the underage page, but former pages <a href="http://articles.latimes.com/2006/oct/08/nation/na-page8" target="_hplink">came forth</a> about having sexual relations with Foley, only after they were of legal age. The scandal led to Foley's resignation from Congress on September 29, 2006. Although he shied away from the public eye, he has recently <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/02/03/mark-foley-finds-forgiven_n_817993.html" target="_hplink">gotten more involved</a> with local Florida politics.
Although the evangelical preacher was not a politician, his close ties with George W. Bush imply that Haggard had a strongl political agenda, which included challenging gay rights. In 2006, amid <a href="http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/story?id=2626067&page=1" target="_hplink">allegations</a> that he had sex with a former self-described male prostitute and bought methamphetamines from the man, Haggard resigned from his post as the president of the National Association of Evangelicals. According to a <a href="http://www.gq.com/news-politics/newsmakers/201102/pastor-ted-haggard?currentPage=1" target="_hplink">2011 <em>GQ</em> interview</a>, after what Haggard went through, "he's never been more capable, more called, than he is now. He has walked through the fire and emerged with family and faith restored." He also candidly admitted, ""I think that probably, if I were 21 in this society, I would identify myself as a bisexual," but refrained from doing so, at his age, because he valued the sanctimony of love for his wife and children.
Lyndon B. Johnson's top aide, Walter Jenkins, was <a href="http://books.google.com/books?id=6jlcmZrSXpEC&pg=PT158&lpg=PT158&dq=Walter+Jenkins+gay&source=bl&ots=599LQPxcet&sig=qEBt3-4mbmmtJ52ppEWvcYI7EW0&hl=en&sa=X&ei=mV3sT-WaJfLz6wGgvPTFBQ&ved=0CHIQ6AEwCQ#v=onepage&q=Walter Jenkins gay&f=false" target="_hplink">arrested</a> for performing oral sex on a stranger in a YMCA bathroom in 1964. Though Jenkins was a well-loved figure in Johnson's administration, and Washington insiders were supportive of him, the taboo against homosexuality at the time spelled the end of his political career.
U.S. Rep. Barney Frank, a Democratic Congressman for nearly 30 years and the first openly gay member of the House, almost undid his career in 1989 after news broke that he had hired Steve Gobie, a male prostitute, who subsequently began hosting clients in Frank's house without his knowledge. Frank's career was by no means ruined and he remains <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/13/barney-frank-jobs-wall-street-reform_n_1512803.html" target="_hplink">a vocal political force</a> today.
Gerry Studds, the first openly gay person elected to Congress, acknowledged his homosexuality in 1983 after a former Congressional page revealed the two had had a relationship a decade earlier. Studds was censured by the House for having sexual relations with his subordinate, who was 17 at the time, but was re-elected to the House six more times after the 1983 censure.