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Eaton “goes there”

Friday, Aug 31, 2012

* Fran Eaton should be given a lot of credit for taking on this issue so directly. I don’t always agree with her, but somebody needed to write this story since both of these gentlemen are considering a bid for governor. Eaton approached the incredibly touchy subject in a very honest, open and frank manner

This week, the issue of gay politics is in the news as one likely candidate for governor - State Treasurer Dan Rutherford - reportedly made an off-the-cuff comment in Tampa in support of anti-Republican Equality Illinois picking up the bar tab for the Illinois Delegation. The State Treasurer is quoted as saying that those who don’t like it “can go someplace else to drink.”

That was an eyebrow-raiser for conservative Republicans back home who are concerned about preserving traditional marriage in Illinois.

Then Wednesday night, a second potential 2014 gubernatorial candidate - Congressman Aaron Schock - told PBS he is opposed to same sex marriage. In response Gay blogger John Aravois expressed his thoughts about Schock, writing:

    “GOP Rep. from IL Aaron Schock said last night on local PBS in Chicago that he’s opposed to gay marriage. I think it’s finally time we had an honest and open discussion about what this guy’s sexual orientation really is. Because if he wants to play the anti-gay card, then he makes his own sexual orientation an issue. He needs to directly answer and put to rest all the talk about him being gay.”

Another eyebrow-raiser. And perhaps the signal that it is time to address a rather difficult topic.

* Eaton then gives us some history and context

So, let’s start with the obvious. Both Rutherford and Schock are not married. Rutherford is 57 years old and Schock is 31. Both have dedicated their adult professional lives to public service.

Rutherford worked for ServiceMaster before becoming a state representative, then a state senator, and now the state treasurer. He’s been involved in politics statewide for decades, and has actively promoted Republican candidates and local organizations. While in the legislature, his voting record was above average on conservative issues with a lifetime average rating of 70 according to the staunchly conservative URF legislative scorecard.

However, Rutherford was the sole Republican vote in favor of adding “sexual orientation” to the state’s non-discrimination statute. The vote caused a furor, and rumors about Rutherford’s sexuality really began to fly.

That’s when I interviewed Rutherford and when I asked him what he referred to as “The Question.” He had heard the same rumors over the years and was eager to answer it publicly. Indeed, Rutherford told me directly, “No, I am not gay.”

* Schock

The other legislator whose sexuality has been questioned is Aaron Schock. Schock was first elected to the Peoria school board when he was 19. At age 21, he challenged an incumbent Democrat state rep and knocked her off in a hard-fought race. At age 27, he ran and won a tough primary race in his first bid for Congress, when Ray LaHood stepped down.

Schock’s a respected, hard-working legislator and as the youngest member in Congress, his future in politics appears to be limitless.

He’s handsome, articulate and photogenic. He’s become a rock star on Capitol Hill and he’s reaching out to his generation with Republican ideals.

I’ve been asked numerous times whether Schock is gay - as if I had proof one way or another. “From discussions I’ve had with those closest to Schock, he is not,” I’ve answered time and time again.

I’ve also explained that Schock experienced a soul-searching time when his parents divorced. He sought pastoral counsel and subsequently made a public declaration of his faith in Jesus at a very conservative church in Peoria. That all happened while he was serving as an Illinois House member.

Fran writes that she’s never asked Schock “The Question,” but the congressman was asked about it back in 2004, according to a 2009 Schock profile. That Details Magazine profile is no longer online, but it’s still searchable

Schock is hoping his romantic prospects will improve too, once he settles in. He’s the only one of his siblings not married with children, and is similarly an outlier among his friends. “I had a group of five or six guys, and we hung out and traveled—ski trips and stuff,” he says. “They slowly got picked off—married, married, married.” His pals try not to dog him about his love life. “I think he’s got enough pressure as it is,” says Shea Ledford, a concrete worker who’s been Schock’s good friend since high school.

Indeed, there’s been enough speculation about Schock’s confirmed-bachelor status that, as far back as 2004, a Chicago newspaper asked him whether he was gay (his response: “No . . . I’m not.”).

* Eaton, a very conservative blogger, concludes her piece with some almost liberal remarks

So, do we have a right to know about a candidate’s personal and public position on moral issues? The answer is “yes”. But I contend it’s less about what a candidate does in their bedroom and more about what the condition of his or her heart, soul and mind is.

Do they respect and guide their lives according to time-solidified scriptural, moral principles? That alone is what will determine the direction they lead their own lives, their homes, and their state.

Perhaps that’s “The Question” we all need to ask ourselves before we ask them the other.

Thoughts?

But before you comment, I need to tell you that I’m gonna delete anyone who makes inappropriate comments and will likely ban those deleted commenters for life. Speculation, rumors, “somebody told me” etc. will not be tolerated. There is going to be very little leeway on this post, so don’t test me.

So, if you think I might delete you, don’t write it. If I think I might ban you, just walk away from your computer. I’m not kidding about this. Don’t push me. Thanks.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


67 Comments
  1. - Carlos S. - Friday, Aug 31, 12 @ 1:04 pm:

    I am gay and have no specific information about whether Schock and Rutherford are gay or not, but I do have trouble wrapping my head around the idea that there are closeted politicians who take anti-gay positions. Its bad enough that others want to keep you keep you a second-class citizen. Having someone who knows in his heart that he has same-sex attractions despite his fervent desire not to and then uses his power to abuse others in that same position meets my definition of perversity.


  2. - Carlos S. - Friday, Aug 31, 12 @ 1:15 pm:

    “eyebrow-raiser for conservative Republicans back home who are concerned about preserving traditional marriage in Illinois”

    This really buys into the sophistry of bigots. None of the proposals I have ever seen seek to alter the ability of heterosexual couples to get married. “Traditional marriage” doesn’t need to be preserved, its just a supposedly nicer way of saying you don’t want of fellow citizens to have equal rights.


  3. - OneMan - Friday, Aug 31, 12 @ 1:16 pm:

    At least this Republican can care less, no matter how someone may swing. To be really blunt, someone who is not keeping the commitment to their partner is a much, much, much bigger issue to me that the gender of that partner.

    Also if anyone thinks this is the sort of thing that is going to elect a governor in this state you really need to get some more fresh air.

    Would you rather have a Republican Governor who ’swings’ a way you have a problem with or Pat Quinn…

    I know the answer to that question.


  4. - OneMan - Friday, Aug 31, 12 @ 1:19 pm:

    Also why even ask someone that question? Seriously, what difference does it make?


  5. - McLean Farmboy - Friday, Aug 31, 12 @ 1:20 pm:

    I think it is once again important for the politicians, as well as the chattering class, to remember…They do NOT get to decide for voters what criteria they will use in making their voting decisions.
    Having said that, whether over this issue or any of a myriad of issues, single-issue voters, quite frankly, depress me. The thought that a voter could agree with ninety-percent of what a candidate believes and because of a single issue refuse to vote for them and would rather vote for someone they agree with significantly less is truly ignorant (in the true meaning of that word).
    I don’t believe in a perfect candidate, so the criteria for me is simple; over the entire range of policy, who do I agree with the most. Even as one of the most conservative people I know, I would not have any problem voting for either of these guys, rumors being true or not.


  6. - East Sider - Friday, Aug 31, 12 @ 1:21 pm:

    Sexual preference? Who cares?

    Just give me a budget & deficit hawk who is working to create a job friendly environment.


  7. - Cincinnatus - Friday, Aug 31, 12 @ 1:21 pm:

    I have been wondering how to broach this subject here for weeks. Let’s forget about the named or implied individuals, let’s instead talk about how a gay candidate plays in Illinois. We have a very diverse state, and whether a person is bigoted or not really isn’t part of the debate, just like the candidate’s sexual orientation.

    Here’s the question, can a gay candidate get elected to the Governor office. If the candidate is gay, how does one handle the issue with voters for whom sexual orientation is an issue.

    Again, and I repeat, this has nothing to do with Dan, or Aaron, or anyone else. And it has nothing to do with bigotry or acceptance or how we collectively feel people should feel about others. Can a person who is gay, or has rumors as being so, cobble together the required number of votes to get elected Governor. I think that the only variable at play is party affiliation. Two analyses are needed, one Republican and one Democrat.

    Other questions I have, how does a candidate handle rumors.

    This is a very tough issue, and I hope that the CapFaxCrowd™ is mature enough to have the debate here without permanent banishment by the proprietor (me included).


  8. - Anonymous - Friday, Aug 31, 12 @ 1:21 pm:

    I applaud you for covering this, Rich. Frankly, I was shocked that Fran wrote about this issue in such a thoughtful way. If only all of our discussions were so thoughtful…

    The first commenter hits the nail on the head. I’m not gay, and I’m still trying to balance my faith with what to think about this issue in government and within my denomination. Right now, I have opposite views between the two, but the point made by Carlos S. is spot on.


  9. - ZC - Friday, Aug 31, 12 @ 1:24 pm:

    All I will say here is what YDD noted the other day, that the GOP candidates for Governor have been able to appeal to IL’s gay citizens (Romney, Edgar, Thompson). Plenty of gays in Chicago worried about higher taxes / government regulation / etc. The other thing is this battle is just being lost, every year, for the young Republicans and Democrats alike coming up the pike. Whatever you think about Rutherford, this is Illinois, not the Deep South. I don’t give one whit about their sexualities. I don’t think a 2014 general election will hinge on this topic. I do think the IL GOP had better get used to more and more Rutherford-Topinka positions within their big tent, or they will eventually still be railing in the minority against a 114 year-old vampire Madigan who has positioned them as historical curiosities.


  10. - ZC - Friday, Aug 31, 12 @ 1:25 pm:

    Ack, sorry, George Ryan not Romney!


  11. - Small Town Liberal - Friday, Aug 31, 12 @ 1:29 pm:

    I don’t care, much more concerned about the lack of heavy lifting done by these two while they endlessly self promote.

    Cinci - I doubt I’m the only person that sees through your comment.


  12. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Friday, Aug 31, 12 @ 1:30 pm:

    === However, Rutherford was the sole Republican vote in favor of adding “sexual orientation” to the state’s non-discrimination statute. ===

    @Rich -

    It used to be rare to see such a glaring error in print. Unfortunately, Revisionism has become a synonym for conservatism.

    Here is the House rollcall for SB 3186, which expanded the Human Rights Act to include perceived sexual orientation.

    Not only was it SPONSORED by the late State Rep. Mark Beaubien, but House Republicans voting in favor of it also included:

    Susie Bassi
    Beth Coulson
    Joe Dunn
    Carolyn Krause
    Rosemary Kurtz
    Patricia Lindner
    Mike McAuliffe
    Rosemary Mulligan
    Sandra Pihos
    Skip Saviano

    Senate Republicans voting in favor of it included:

    Pam Althoff
    Christine Radogno

    To me, it seems that Eaton offers a pretty thin excuse for singling Rutherford out. Was it because he was the only Downstate Republican? Meh. Possible, but only a very thin excuse indeed.


  13. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Friday, Aug 31, 12 @ 1:33 pm:

    @ZC -

    Thanks for the hat tip pal. I’d add Topinka and Mark Kirk to that list.

    The fact remains, the last anti-gay Republican elected statewide in Illinois was Peter Fitzgerald, in 1998.

    Schock is so far to the right on this issue that, in my opinion, he can’t credibly get back to the center in time for 2014. He sure is trying though!


  14. - Chevy owner/Ford County - Friday, Aug 31, 12 @ 1:34 pm:

    one man, if you support the policy of gays and lesbians not being permitted to serve in the military, as Aaron Schock does, then there is absolutely nothing wrong with questioning his orientation. If you feel, as Aaron Schock does, that it should be legal to terminate the employment of an individual based not upon their job performance, but solely upon their sexual orientation, then his sexual orientation should also be something his employers (we the people) should be permitted to consider when making a hiring decision.


  15. - Cincinnatus - Friday, Aug 31, 12 @ 1:36 pm:

    STL,

    Don’t start this. I have a gay brother-in-law and know many people in the gay community. It is YOUR comment that is exactly what I am afraid of since you assume things about which you know very little. Accept the world as it is, my friend, and try to understand that your enlightened attitude my not apply to everyone.

    There is no way that we can litigate the bigotry you are implying that I have, and for the viewpoint of my earlier post, I try to eliminate bigotry from the discussion. In case you are so isolated from the real world let me give you a clue, people are bigoted, nothing you can do about it.

    That said, how does a candidate handle the issue. How does a candidate fight an untrue rumor. What does it take for the socially conservative voters to overcome their squeamishness and vote for the man, not the myth?


  16. - Ahoy! - Friday, Aug 31, 12 @ 1:38 pm:

    I could honestly care less if someone is gay or not and it shouldn’t be asked. For journalist it’s extremely unprofessional and for others it’s rude. We’re at a time right now where we need to focus on issues, and while it’s fair to ask someone their stance on gay marriage, it’s not fair to then ask their sexual preference. Sexual preference is like race, it shouldn’t matter.

    I’m straight and I support gay marriage.


  17. - Demoralized - Friday, Aug 31, 12 @ 1:41 pm:

    As a gay person, it’s irritating to me that sexual orientation is even an issue. I get so tired of people trying to define you by one aspect of your life. I’m afraid I couldn’t be a politician - or at least the kind who feels the need to appease everyone - because my comments to those who would dislike me simply because I’m gay would be “oh well.” It’s time people focused on actual issues rather than who somebody happens to love. Why is it that some “conservatives” are so concerned about government interference in our lives . . . unless it has to do with how I live my life? So my thoughts? I don’t care what somebody else thinks. If they want to be an irrational bigot then so be it.


  18. - just sayin' - Friday, Aug 31, 12 @ 1:42 pm:

    Eaton’s not being honest which is hardly new.

    I remember her story from a few years ago where she talked about asking Rutherford “the question.” But at the time she never specified what “the question” was. And only reported Rutherford said “no.”

    This is the first time Eaton has reported the quote as “No, I am not gay.”

    Rich, I respect and love the work you do, but I think you’re trying to have it both ways a bit on this topic. You’ve drawn an undefined subjective line as to where someone might go too far in your view in discussing the obvious elephant in the room.

    There’s nothing wrong with being gay so I don’t understand the problem. However a public official lying or voting a certain way because he or she fears retaliation or exposure, that is a legitimate issue for voters. It’s a form of blackmail that could compromise a public official.

    Not saying that’s happened with respect to any specific person. But it’s a legitimate concern.

    Just sayin’.


  19. - Ace Matson - Friday, Aug 31, 12 @ 1:42 pm:

    As a lifelong Republican (longer then Fran Eaton), I have never understood why the party of Lincoln has become so gay-phobic! I know some gay politicians who don’t support gay marriage and are very conservative on most issues. So would the Eatons of the world vote against these candidates? Keep the government out of my wallet, and keep the government out of my bedroom!


  20. - Demoralized - Friday, Aug 31, 12 @ 1:45 pm:

    ==I have a gay brother-in-law and know many people in the gay community.==

    That’s the old “I’m not a racist because I have black friends argument.” Socially conservative voters either get over their bigotry or they don’t. There isn’t anything for the candidate “to do.”


  21. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Friday, Aug 31, 12 @ 1:49 pm:

    I’d point out that we would have passed pension reform already if most of those moderate Republicans I listed above hadn’t been driven from the GOP.


  22. - Statesman - Friday, Aug 31, 12 @ 1:49 pm:

    What difference does it make?


  23. - wordslinger - Friday, Aug 31, 12 @ 1:55 pm:

    –I have been wondering how to broach this subject here for weeks.–

    Dude, you haven’t been subtle.

    We’re pretty close to the day when it won’t matter to most folks. The kids, by and large, don’t care. And they’re good kids.

    The country has been down this road before. Catholics and Jews used to be unacceptable for high elective or appointed office. So were Evangelical Christians. Blacks? Forget it. Hispanics? No way. Mormons? What are those?

    Now you have Mormon and Catholic on one ticket and a black guy and Catholic on the other. Not even thinkable 30 years ago.

    Down in Tampa, the biggest buzz for the future of the GOP was a Cuban-American and a black woman.

    There are always bumps in the road and setbacks, but the trend for opportunity in the United States is always up. That’s why people leave everything behind to come here, like my folks did.


  24. - just sayin' - Friday, Aug 31, 12 @ 1:56 pm:

    The persons who could advance the ball the most on this topic are the gay politicians - of both parties - who simply need to level with their constituents.

    It’s all well and good to say being gay shouldn’t matter. But it then begs the question as to why gay politicians typically act as though it does. If the answer is “well because society is still prejudiced and I might not get elected” - well then work to educate and change. I think that’s what bothers a lot of gay activists and why they out closeted politicians who vote against gay rights. I don’t particularly support the gay agenda, but I do understand and respect their strategy. In fact that are much more effective and strong willed than conservatives in IL especially.

    Silly games like Fran Eaton plays where she dances all around the real issue help neither gay folks nor the most 1950’s style conservative. It’s just more of the muddle IR is known for.


  25. - Thoughts... - Friday, Aug 31, 12 @ 1:57 pm:

    YDD-

    No doubt Fran’s reporting needs help - I’d wager she was referring to the fact that Rutherford was the only Senate Repub to vote for civil unions, which is still a far cry from whatever she’s claiming.


  26. - Small Town Liberal - Friday, Aug 31, 12 @ 2:02 pm:

    - Don’t start this. -

    Cinci, my comment has to do with Rutherford. As word noted, you haven’t been subtle about bringing up this issue, nor have you been subtle about why.


  27. - OldSmoky2 - Friday, Aug 31, 12 @ 2:06 pm:

    Chevy owner raises an interesting point, I think - that if a legislator’s votes are in favor of employers being able to question employees about whether they’re straight or gay and then hire or fire them on that basis, then why can’t voters ask that same question of those legislators when they’re asking voters for a job? I honestly hadn’t thought of it that way before (and I do support equal rights for LGBTs, including marriage equality).
    That said, it’s true that we’ve had some very LGBT-supportive Republican statewide officials in Illinois, particularly Ryan and Topinka. However, this is not the George Ryan era of politics. In fact, when Topinka lost to Blagojevich in the governor’s race, it had already changed. A contributing factor in her defeat that year was that many, many Republicans refused to back her because of her positions in support of civil unions and civil rights protections for LGBTs. It wasn’t the only factor or even the biggest one, but it hampered her campaign in a lot of ways, especially in fundraising to fight the relentless Blagojevich TV ads.


  28. - Rich Miller - Friday, Aug 31, 12 @ 2:07 pm:

    ===if a legislator’s votes are in favor of employers being able to question employees about whether they’re straight or gay and then hire or fire them on that basis, then why can’t voters ask that same question of those legislators when they’re asking voters for a job?===

    Very, very good point.


  29. - William - Friday, Aug 31, 12 @ 2:12 pm:

    Fran’s not a reporter, she’s a blogger.


  30. - Ray del Camino - Friday, Aug 31, 12 @ 2:14 pm:

    Looking forward to the day when it’s a “so-what?” issue. Then people–in politics or whatever job–won’t feel the need to be closeted. As Wordslinger notes, that day could be soon, because to the young people of today, it already is “so what?”


  31. - Zoble21 - Friday, Aug 31, 12 @ 2:14 pm:

    A right to know… maybe. But if we are going to start making an informed decision on who to vote for because of govt, political, or social issues then full disclosure is needed.


  32. - Concerned Professor - Friday, Aug 31, 12 @ 2:15 pm:

    If the issue is whether or not gay and lesbian couples can marry in Illinois, then it doesn’t matter what a legislator’s sexual orientation is, just where they stand on the policy. However, as one writer pointed out, if there is a debate about laws concerning whether an employer can ASK if someone is gay or lesbian, then yes, they need to disclose their orientation too.


  33. - wordslinger - Friday, Aug 31, 12 @ 2:21 pm:

    –..that if a legislator’s votes are in favor of employers being able to question employees about whether they’re straight or gay and then hire or fire them on that basis, then why can’t voters ask that same question of those legislators when they’re asking voters for a job?–

    Forgive my ignorance. There’s real legislation like that in Illinois, with roll calls?

    I guess, sadly, I wouldn’t be surprised by Congress. There’s a nascent Antideluvian Caucus there that I trust will find the door when times are flush again.


  34. - TwoFeetThick - Friday, Aug 31, 12 @ 2:22 pm:

    I care not one bit if either of them are gay. I suspect, the majority of people don’t. The problem is, their party and its members care very much. It also makes them hypocrites if they are gay and take anti-gay positions and present themselves as something they are not. That, I care about, as that speaks much louder about who they are as persons than their sexual orientation.


  35. - Montrose - Friday, Aug 31, 12 @ 2:26 pm:

    *Very, very good point.*

    It is a good point relative to the politico and their offense at the question being asked of them. But if you are someone that doesn’t think that question should be asked of employees, don’t turn around and ask that question of the politico.


  36. - Cincinnatus - Friday, Aug 31, 12 @ 2:28 pm:

    We are still avoiding the question of electability, although Word is starting to come at it. 25 years from now, it won’t matter. But in 2014, can rumors (true or not) sink a Republican candidate’s chances given our downstate conservatism and our upstate liberalism? From the comments I see here, with the complete lack of understanding of the other side’s concerns and arguments, I hold little hope that a strategy can be developed to elect Dan or Aaron, whether or not they are the best qualified individuals, which they may well be.

    For the past few weeks, I have been thinking and floating here about decoupling state benefits, breaks, and shelters for adults (and businesses, industries, and bright ideas funded by the state), and instead reprograming those benefits toward children. Then, the state can get out of the “marriage” business altogether, simply because these social issues are tiring, irreconcilable, and decisive to the commonweal. The state can get out of picking winners and losers, in social issues and in industry. “Traditional Marriage” them becomes the realm of the Church, which should be able to conscientiously object from state-imposed solutions, and where we all may feel more comfortable.

    My opinion, and mine alone, btw.


  37. - Small Town Liberal - Friday, Aug 31, 12 @ 2:29 pm:

    Montrose - I disagree. Reaping and sowing, the concept has been around a while.


  38. - Chevy owner/Ford County - Friday, Aug 31, 12 @ 2:34 pm:

    Montrose…disagree. Politicos set the standards. Afterall, they set the laws that we are held to. The same standards should apply to them.


  39. - John Galt - Friday, Aug 31, 12 @ 2:35 pm:

    A few points:

    1) I agree w/ Cincy on this one. I personally couldn’t give a hoot whether or not a candidate for high office was gay. But I would have concerns for two more practical reasons. First, if he were closeted, he’d be opening himself up for an inordinate amount of political strong-arming once he reached office. If he’s going to be gay, he needs to be out about it so that folks can’t threaten an “outing” as political leverage. This isn’t so much a gay issue as a *skeletons in the closet* issue generally. Second, even though *I* don’t care one way or another as a GOP voter, the purely clinical issue in my mind is “are there enough voters in the electorate who DO mind such that it could cost the election”? The GOP cannot afford to spot the Democratic candidate points in the polls going into an election. Not in Illinois. If the candidate were *hands down* the best candidate the GOP could offer–to the point where any handicap he might receive is outweighed by his otherwise popularity? Then sure. But if the field is reasonably strong (or at least has rough parity within itself) in 2014, I don’t see the upside in taking a risk, especially in Illinois where the GOP doesn’t have any room for error as it is. It’s unfortunate, but at this point that’s my clinical judgment. Not an indictment of the potentially gay candidates–it’s more of a statement about the current state of the statewide electorate.

    2. If a candidate isn’t for gay marriage but is gay himself, I can still see a rationale for him not being a hypocrite. It’d be a tough needle to thread, but if done on his own time-table and in a way of his own choosing, somebody with a sterling reputation with his constituents could make the case. Essentially, they’d say “I don’t think it’s smart to mess with traditional marriage in our society, even if I personally could benefit from it. As a result, my traditional family policy views still stand.” Certainly not a guaranteed winning argument. His opponents would lambast him for being a hypocrite. But if done in the right way, and if he has a great reputation w/ his constituents otherwise, it could be done. It’s imporant to note, however, that it could only be done if the person is a well-known & already well-liked figure in his current office. If he were trying to introduce himself to larger territory or to upgrade his office into a bigger chair, then I think that’d be asking too much for the electorate to take.

    Again, this isn’t my personal view of a candidate’s ability to do the job or to be a good public servant. It’s simply my clinical observation of how the electorate would behave. And for strategic reasons as a party booster, I wouldn’t be inclined to take that much of a gamble when the GOP is such an extreme minority party in Illinois as it is.


  40. - VanillaMan - Friday, Aug 31, 12 @ 2:37 pm:

    Since 1789, political candidates have been asked questions that reflect contemporary social concerns and issues.

    If you ran for public office in 1850, you had to explain your last name if it sounded foreign.

    If you ran for public office in 1950, you had to explain any political affiliations that sounded foreign.

    Today, if you run for public office, you have to explain any sexual attractions you may have that sound foreign.

    There is a reason most folks do not run for public office. They don’t want to answer the personal questions.

    I don’t blame them a bit.


  41. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Friday, Aug 31, 12 @ 2:37 pm:

    Um, “Thoughts”, Rutherford WASN’T the only Senate Republican to vote for the bill.

    Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno ALSO voted for it.

    As did Senator Althoff.

    The fact is, many folks like Fran Eaton had long ago made up their mind about Rutherford, and our basic cognitive bias is to look for evidence that confirms what we already know and ignore everything else.

    Even if that means rewriting history and legislative roll calls.

    Honestly, speculation about sexual orientation in the Illinois General Assembly dates back atleast as far as Abraham Lincoln. Maybe that’s human nature too.

    But it remains as issue for the GOP, and will remain an issue as long as they continue to adopt such a staunchly biased platform against equality for gay Americans.


  42. - in the know - Friday, Aug 31, 12 @ 2:37 pm:

    For clarity, I’m Republican, I’m Straight and I don’t care about the sexual preferences of politicians. I do think there is a legitimate question about marriage equality and no question about whether any one should be bullied or harassed because of their sexuality. That being said, I’ve overheard the conversations in which various GOP pols have said that certain candidates will be disqualified by the GOP primary voter because of their sexuality. “The Question” is will those who show up at the polls and pull a GOP primary ballot 1) vote for a gay candidate and 2) punish a candidate who “goes there”. While I agree with the generational destiny argument, I do not believe that the GOP primary voter in 2014 would do either. Someday but not yet. And sadly, i expect that to be a subrosa part of the upcoming campaign.


  43. - walkinfool - Friday, Aug 31, 12 @ 2:41 pm:

    I like to believe that an openly gay person could win the Governorship in Illinois.

    Greg Harris, for example, would be a remarkably effective, responsible, and responsive governor, IMO. I would seriously vote for him over many of those usually mentioned or polled. Quite a long-shot, admittedly.

    I do not believe it is right for either an employer, or a reporter with a candidate, to ask a question about personal sexual orientation as if that somehow were relevant to the hiring or election process.

    Involuntary “outing” by a campaign is despicable regardless of a candidate’s positions. The hypocracy argument doesn’t justify such an invasion of personal privacy.


  44. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Friday, Aug 31, 12 @ 2:45 pm:

    Galt & Cincy -

    That is some of the most intellectually dishonest reasoning ever. Republicans who are married are much more likely to fall victim to political strong-arming for their extra-marital liaisons, whether gay or straight.

    But do we question the sex lives of incumbent Republicans who are married the way we question those that are single? Nope.

    Let me know when you’re ready to hook all of the GOP members of the House and Senate up to a polygraph to ask them if they’ve ever had an affair.


  45. - Montrose - Friday, Aug 31, 12 @ 2:49 pm:

    STL & Chevy Owner-

    I hear what you are saying. I am just a fan of the high road, which does not work well with politics.


  46. - Drew - Friday, Aug 31, 12 @ 2:51 pm:

    I remember during the civil unions debate in the Senate when Senator Ricky Hendon threatened to out members of the other party who were on the “down low”. He didn’t name names but that moments remains one of the low points in Illinois legislative debate in my mind.


  47. - wordslinger - Friday, Aug 31, 12 @ 3:00 pm:

    VMan, you bring up true points from history. Then we have to ask when were those questions ever legitimate, and when do we wise up and stop asking the current ones?

    You don’t have to defend being Irish, German, Italian, Catholic, Jewish, Evangelical, etc., ad infinitum anymore, thank goodness.

    But the question of sexuality is crazy. What are you even asking someone? How do you get down? Is there a list of what’s acceptable and what’s not? How do you prove it, if it’s so important?

    We all could rattle off a list as long as your arm of politicians on all points of the spectrum who payed lip-service to “traditional” Ward-and-June heterosexual, married, monogamy that were out getting their own brand of “strange.”

    Same goes in every aspect and institution of life.

    It’s called life. It’s complicated. The libraries are full of novels on the infinite varieties that have been around since the crust cooled.

    I’m a conservative mind-your-own business guy. Sweat the big stuff and stop peeking in the bedroom windows.


  48. - Small Town Liberal - Friday, Aug 31, 12 @ 3:13 pm:

    - We are still avoiding the question of electability, although Word is starting to come at it. -

    If you’re so convinced these guys are unelectable, then what are you worried about?

    Or maybe you’re just hoping to convince everyone else they’re unelectable? Hmmmmmmm…


  49. - Small Town Liberal - Friday, Aug 31, 12 @ 3:16 pm:

    Also, Cinci, these rumors aren’t new. Last time I checked Schock and Rutherford are both from downstate, and Rutherford has won statewide already.


  50. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Friday, Aug 31, 12 @ 3:16 pm:

    Wordslinger is correct. Mostly.

    We realize those questions from our past were idiotic now…but you think we should keep repeating them?

    I do think that an elected official’s sexual behavior is relevant if it is hypocritical. Just as someone who votes for anti-drug legislation but uses drugs is relevant. The character flaw isn’t smoking pot or being gay, but being a hypocrite.


  51. - Cincinnatus - Friday, Aug 31, 12 @ 3:20 pm:

    STL,

    Because I want to make sure a Republican beats the Democrat in 2014 before Illinois goes belly-up. Somebody can win the primary and lose the general (c.f. Bill Brady).

    You are so off-base on my motivations, I’ll never engage you again in a discussion. What a maroon…


  52. - IrishPirate - Friday, Aug 31, 12 @ 3:21 pm:

    Oh man, now we’re getting into questions of Old Abe Lincoln’s sexuality. Wasn’t it enough that he saved the Union, freed the slaves and eliminated the vampire threat Let’s not worry what he did with his “log” on a lonely Thursday night as he traveled Illinois as an up and coming attorney.

    If any of our straight, gay, or closeted politicians did anything 1/100th as meaningful as the rail splitter we’ve have to give them a library in Springfield.


  53. - IrishPirate - Friday, Aug 31, 12 @ 3:25 pm:

    On a more serious note if any pols who are under a rainbow cloud of suspicion regarding their sexuality think they can run for the Governorship or US Senate and avoid the rain showers they are wrong. Going from a second tier race statewide or in a congressional district to the premier race on the state ticket is something else entirely.

    The level of scrutiny is a whole other thing. They will be “scrootened” as a former Chicago “mare” once said. Like Chicago voting the “scrootening” will be early and often.


  54. - Small Town Liberal - Friday, Aug 31, 12 @ 3:29 pm:

    - What a maroon… -

    Sticks and stones, Cinci.

    Good luck in the primary.


  55. - Katiedid - Friday, Aug 31, 12 @ 3:36 pm:

    Do I think it should be part of the discourse? Absolutely not. I do think it’s a point worth contemplating whether it should be okay to ask of a legislator who says that it should be okay for employers to ask it (and fire) a prospective employee, however.

    I suspect Thoughts… is right that Fran meant the civil unions bill when she was talking about him being the only Republican yes vote, not the civil rights bill. Regardless, however, even with that bill, it should say that he was the only *Senate* Republican, not the only Republican; some Republicans in the House voted yes. Radogno and Althoff were both no on the civil union bill (they both voted yes on the original bill, but it was something else originally). Lest we think this is a party thing, several Dems voted no or present as well on that bill.


  56. - No Longer a Peon - Friday, Aug 31, 12 @ 3:41 pm:

    Sorry… should have read… ‘beating his wife’.


  57. - Democratic Yoda - Friday, Aug 31, 12 @ 3:44 pm:

    I am a very liberal & progressive individual and I am ALL for Gay rights. I look at it as a Civil Rights issue. The problem I have with sexual orientation in politics is this. If you are of a political party that has a history of trying to deny Gays civil rights, has a portion of the party that actually and openly bashes gays and you yourself are gay - that’s a problem. Total hypocrisy. I know hypocrisy occurs quite a bit in politics and we as humans are hypocritical in so many ways. Again, most the time, and definitely most recently - Liberals - will admit that they are gay and they will join the political game as their openly gay selves, be proud of it, and fight for gay rights. That’s awesome. But, nothing irks me more than Gay Republicans who have not come out of the closet and who continue to deride Gay rights, gay parades, gay rallies, etc. Even if they don’t openly deride Gays & Lesbians in their speeches, etc., they are part of party that has fought against gay rights in the past and continues to do so. That is soooooo hypocritical and again, drives me nuts.

    If Dan Rutherford & Aaron Schock are gay - I wish they would come out and push their party to change their ways. That would definitely show courage and leadership. And, if they are not, then I still wish they would drop out of the Republican Party anyway just because I think everyone should anyway. :-)


  58. - wordslinger - Friday, Aug 31, 12 @ 3:46 pm:

    –We are still avoiding the question of electability, although Word is starting to come at it. 25 years from now, it won’t matter. But in 2014, can rumors (true or not) sink a Republican candidate’s chances given our downstate conservatism and our upstate liberalism? –

    Dude, if these childish and prurient whispering campaigns could sink a Republican’s statewide or congressional electability, Jack Roeser would have kept a few GOPers out of office by now, for more than one term.

    C’mon man, how can you deal in this stuff? This is where the conservatives say “mind your own business.”


  59. - Votecounter - Friday, Aug 31, 12 @ 4:06 pm:

    Wordslinger
    I believe I do have to defend being Catholic and the church’s and my position on Marriage. You see if I say I am not in favor it is because I am a bigot or homophobe.
    I could care less what anyone does in their bedroom or the lifestyle they choose to live unless you ask me to agree. Then I have the obligation to be truthful. Catholicism is not a new religion it is 2012 years old yet if I state my views I am maligned and called names. I am happy this forum has approached this subject. Governor is not just another office it is the head of the party. The GOP is a conservative party in Illinois more now than ever, the fighting that has been going on since Peter Fitzgerald has been between the old moderate GOP and the ones they call wingnuts (WN) conservatives. The old guard cannot have the WN gain control of the party because they don’t play politics and don’t like compromise. The Republican platform states it is pro life, and pro traditional marriage so it does matter to the GOP primary voter how someone votes on those subjects. As for the people in question I will take them at their word but cab still judge them by how they vote on the issue.


  60. - Sgtstu - Friday, Aug 31, 12 @ 4:16 pm:

    Rich, you are starting to sound like Mike Madigan. I am God and I say it will be this way or else !! Settle down will ya ?


  61. - Lakeview - Friday, Aug 31, 12 @ 4:23 pm:

    I do not care who people sleep with. I do care about hypocrisy.

    I’ll bet good money that Illinois has had plenty of gay people holding various offices over the last 150 or whatever years, but no one knew because they didn’t talk about it and they didn’t behave in ways that made them hypocritical. That’s why it’s a bigger issue for Schock than for Rutherford. That’s all.


  62. - Pot calling kettle - Friday, Aug 31, 12 @ 4:25 pm:

    I find it interesting that Eaton would ask the question and then expect someone to come out to her first. I think the issue is mostly one for the GOP primary. It would be very hypocritical for a Democrat to “go there” since equal treatment regardless of sexual orientation has become a party touchstone. Even conservative Dems realize this and most left the issue of an opponent’s sexuality behind years ago.

    And “orientation” is the preferred term (as opposed to “preference”). One’s sexual orientation is not considered to be a choice or preference but an inherent characteristic.


  63. - soccermom - Friday, Aug 31, 12 @ 4:36 pm:

    As a proud Maroon, I take umbrage at that remark, sir!


  64. - K3 - Friday, Aug 31, 12 @ 5:00 pm:

    I don’t care what their sexual orientation is, but I think they should be up front about it. I just don’t get why they think they have to hide it. Wouldn’t effect my vote one bit.


  65. - wordslinger - Friday, Aug 31, 12 @ 5:10 pm:

    –You see if I say I am not in favor it is because I am a bigot or homophobe.–

    I’m not sure what you’re trying to say there, cousin, but if you can find anywhere I accused Catholics of being bigots or homophobes, I’ll buy you a cigar.

    But, I will give you a little advice. No matter how much you want to believe it, no one in authority, and I mean no one, speaks for everyone who self-identifies in all situations.


  66. - GA Watcher - Tuesday, Sep 4, 12 @ 9:44 am:

    BTW, the “Maroons” opened their season with a 20-6 win over Beloit College.


  67. - amalia - Tuesday, Sep 4, 12 @ 10:06 am:

    away, so missed, this, but it’s John ARAVOSIS, and he is the real story in this…..if he has someone in his sights, it’s usually really big trouble. he specializes in exposing those who vote one way and live another. he’s done it many times before.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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