Huffpost Politics

17 Politicians Who've Faced Gay Rumors Or Sex Scandals

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When journalist Itay Hod took to Facebook last week and insinuated Republican Congressman Aaron Schock (R-IL) is gay, he reignited a complex and precarious argument about the ethics behind outing public figures.

The issue of outing has been hotly contested among lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) activists since the early 1990s when William A. Henry III published an article titled "Forcing Gays Out of the Closet" in Time magazine. It continued to be explored through other texts such as HuffPost Gay Editor-at-Large Michelangelo Signorile's 1993 book Queer in America: Sex, the Media, and the Closets of Power.

As outing continues to be a divisive issue within the LGBT community, let's take a look back at a number of other politicians who have faced gay rumors or sex scandals in the past, including some of whom were publicly outed as a result.

  • 1
    Aaron Schock
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Journalist Itay Hod unleashed a wave of controversy when he appeared to out Republican Congressman Aaron Schock (R-IL) as gay through Facebook on Friday, Jan. 4. In the post, Hod writes about a "hypothetical" situation during which a friend of his catches a GOP congressman from Illinois and the friend's male roommate in the shower together. Though Hod didn't name Schock outright, at the end of the piece he included a link to an Americablog post titled "The 7 gayest Aaron Schock Instagram posts of 2013."
  • 2
    Larry Craig
    The former Idaho senator lost the support of his fellow Republicans when he was arrested in June 2007 during a sex sting at a Minneapolis airport bathroom, 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, according to NPR.

    Though Craig announced his intention to resign from the Senate at a Sept. 1, 2007 news conference, he later decided to finish the remainder of his term.
  • 3
    Charlie Crist
    AP
    The former Florida governor was hit with allegations that he paid two men to conceal gay affairs 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 reportedly contains details on an exchange between Chase and John Morgan, whose law firm Crist works at in Florida. Meanwhile, Crist has reportedly slammed the allegations as "a bunch of delusional lies."
  • 4
    James McGreevey
    Democratic Governor McGreevey of New Jersey, who faced rumors about his sexuality in political circles for years, disclosed 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.
  • 5
    Robert Arango
    In 2011, it was revealed 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 Grindr. Amidst the ensuing controversy, Arango resigned.
  • 6
    Carl Kruger
    In 2011, New York Sen. Carl Kruger plead guilty to corruption charges and was sentenced to seven years in prison. Kruger, who had voted against 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.
  • 7
    Jim McCrery
    Getty
    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 The Advocate, 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, "Outrage."
  • 8
    Edward L. Schrock
    Douglas Graham via Getty Images
    In 2004, the two-term Virginia congressman resigned after voicemail messages he reportedly left on a gay phone sex hotline 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," according to the "Washington Post." At least one of Schrock's messages was uncovered by LGBT activist Mike Rogers, who published the clip on his blog and told the Post 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."
  • 9
    Troy King
    Troy King, the Alabama Attorney General who was reportedly caught by his wife in bed with a male assistant, had made anti-gay rhetoric part of his political mantra.
  • 10
    Phil Hinkle
    As The Indianapolis Star reported, 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 reportedly responded to a listing in which Kameryn Gibson indicated that he was 20 years old. According to the Star, however, Gibson said he was actually just 18. The lawmaker eventually admitted to making arrangements 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."
  • 11
    Richard Curtis
    Curtis, who served as a Republican member of the Washington State House of Representatives from 2005 to 2007 and voted against a domestic partnership bill and a bill that would have outlawed discrimination based on sexual orientation, was found to have dressed in women's clothing and paid 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.
  • 12
    Jon Hinson
    Alamy
    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 arrested again, this time for engaging in oral sex in a bathroom in the House of Representatives with a Library of Congress clerk ten 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.
  • 13
    Glenn Murphy Jr.
    Photo via Scott Meis Photography at Flickr.com
    In 2007, the Indiana-based Republican Party Chairman was charged with class B felony criminal deviate conduct after performing unwanted oral sex on a man who had allegedly passed out after a party at Murphy's sister's home. As Indiana's "News & Tribune" reported, 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 pleaded guilty, ending his once-promising political career.
  • 14
    Robert Bauman
    U.S. Congress
    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.
  • 15
    Mark Foley
    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 reported in 2006 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 came forth about having sexual relations with Foley, only after they were of legal age. The scandal led to Foley's resignation from Congress on Sept. 29, 2006.
  • 16
    Walter Jenkins
    Lyndon B. Johnson's top aide, Walter Jenkins, was arrested 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.
  • 17
    Gerry Studds
    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.

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