Monday, October 02, 2006

Gay Scandals

There is now no doubt that Mark Foley acted both unwisely and possibly illegally. (Although the age of consent is 16 in DC and most other American states, it is illegal to solicit anyone under 18 over the Internet.)

What is odd is the timing. I say this, even as I hope the Democrats win, and the story is very bad for the Republicans.

The problem is the very long history of using a "gay scandal" as a political tool, and even more particularly in the lead up to an election. For non-gays each scandal seems new, but for gay people with any life experience there is a depressing sameness about each episode.

A Primer: Gay Political Scandals

  • Prince Philippe zu Eulenberg 1907-09 (Germany)
  • Roger Casement 1916 (UK/Ireland)
  • Alfred Redl 1913 WWI (Austria-Hungary)
  • Lord Montagu of Beaulieu 1954 (UK)
  • Ian Harvey 1958 (UK)
  • Maureen Colquhoun 1974-78 (UK)
  • Robert Bauman 1980 (US)
  • Jeremy Thorpe 1978 (UK)
  • The Queen's detective 1982 (UK) [I cannot recall the details)
  • Peter Tatchell 1983 election period) (UK)[In this case the fact that the Liberal Party candidate was also gay, did not stop the Liberals going after Tatchell simply for being gay]
  • Gary Studds 1983 (US)
  • Dan Crane 1983 (US)
  • Barney Frank 1990 (US)
  • Jim Kolbe 1996 (US)
  • Jerry Hayes 1997 (UK)
  • Tom Spencer 1999 (UK)
  • James McGreevey 2004 (USA: New Jersey)
  • Peter Davis 2006 and here (New Zealand) [Davis' is husband the NZ Prime Minister]
  • James E. West 2005 (USA: Washington) [This case is remarkable for its similarities to the Foley case.]
  • Mark Foley 2006 (USA) (election)

    Note that these kind of scandals are sometimes related to actions, sometimes just to the fact that a person is gay. All shades of the political spectrum are prone to use this mode of attack. See a disreputable list of Republican Sex Scandals at dkospedia
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