LGBT's worst foe: The Closet Monster

Gays' worst enemies? Too often: Closet cases terrified of being exposed. A hall of shame

  • Roy

    Roy Cohn

    History: Key attorney in the Joe McCarthy anti-communism hearings, Justice Department attorney, prosecutor of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg
    Anti-gay behavior:
    ● Cohn and McCarthy pursued and blacklisted homosexuals as an integral part of their crusade.
    ● In the hearings, the two complained many times of “queers” in the government and “powder puff diplomacy,” leading to a subcommittee report on the “Employment of Homosexuals and Other Sex Perverts in Government.”
    Outed: Roy Cohn never admitted to being gay, but authors of LGBT histories – based on the accounts of Cohn’s friends and peers – conclude there is “no doubt” about his homosexuality.
    Outcome: Cohn died of a heart attack related to “underlying HTLV-3 infections,” or complications from AIDS.

    corrected since it was originally published.
  • Bob

    Bob Bauman

    History: Former Republican U.S. representative from Maryland
    Anti-gay behavior:
    ● Bauman supported the Family Protection Act, which would have legalized discrimination based on sexual orientation in housing and employment.
    Outed: In 1980, Bauman was charged with attempting to solicit sex from a 16-year-old male prostitute. Bauman cited his problems with alcohol as a cause of the event and entered a rehabilitation program. The charges against him were dropped.
    Outcome: Bauman lost his reelection bid. He came out as gay, and in 1986 published a book titled “The Gentleman From Maryland: The Conscience of a Gay Conservative.”

    corrected since it was originally published.
  • Terry

    Terry Dolan

    History: Co-Founder of the National Conservative Political Action Committee (NCPAC)
    Anti-gay behavior:
    ● Dolan consistently opposed gay rights through one of the most powerful conservative organizations in the country.
    ● He wrote in a fundraising letter: “Our nation’s moral fiber is being weakened by the growing homosexual movement and the fanatical E.R.A. [Equal Rights Amendment] pushers (many of whom publicly brag they are lesbians).”
    Outed: Dolan was never fully outed and never acknowledged being gay. According to the Washington Post, however, Dolan reportedly co-founded an activist group for gay and lesbian Republicans called “Concerned Americans for Individual Rights.”
    Outcome: Dolan’s sexuality was a continued topic of speculation and rumor until his death in 1986 from complications with AIDS.

    corrected since it was originally published.
  • Arthur

    Arthur Finkelstein

    History: Longtime, prominent consultant for the Republican Party
    Anti-gay behavior:
    ● Finkelstein has worked to elect anti-gay candidates to political positions all over the country, including politicians who stated explicitly that homosexuality was immoral and those who opposed gay marriage.
    Outed: In 1996, Boston magazine ran an in-depth profile on Finkelstein, exposing his long-term relationship with his male partner.
    Outcome: In 2005, Finkelstein acknowledged that he had married his long-term partner (of 40 years) in a private ceremony. He has continued to work for Republican candidates, though he has been distancing himself somewhat from social conservatives within the party. (That same year, Bill Clinton attempted to highlight Finkelstein’s hypocrisy, saying: “Either this guy believes his party is not serious and is totally Machiavellian in its position [on gay rights], or you know, as David Brock said in his great book ‘Blinded by the Right,’ there’s some sort of self-loathing or something. I was more sad for him.”)

    corrected since it was originally published.
  • Jim
    AP/Hussein Malla

    Jim Kolbe

    History: Former Republican U.S. representative from Arizona; former Arizona state senator
    Anti-gay behavior:
    ● Voted for the Defense of Marriage Act
    Outed: In 1996, after Kolbe’s vote in favor of DOMA, gay activists took out a full-page ad in the Washington Blade, calling on all closeted members of Congress to “end your silence and defend your community.” The ad was understood to be aimed especially at Kolbe — he came out within weeks.
    Outcome: Kolbe was reelected that year and became the first openly gay person to address the Republican National Convention. In 2006, as Kolbe stepped down after 22 years in Congress, he said that the GOP’s continued opposition to same-sex marriage (as well as to abortion and stem-cell research) was “a terrible mistake.”

    corrected since it was originally published.
  • David
    Reuters/Fred Prouser

    David Dreier

    History:Republican U.S. representative from California
    Anti-gay behavior:
    ● Supported the Defense of Marriage Act
    ● Voted against gay adoption
    ● Voted against the Matthew Shepard Act, which extended hate crime protections to homosexuals.
    Outed: In 2004, the LA Weekly claimed that Dreier had had a long-term affair with a male member of his staff. This staff member earned the highest possible salary allowed by law for his position.
    Outcome: Dreier continues to deny the claims. Others in Washington say that his homosexuality is an open secret. When Barney Frank was asked if Dreier was not elected House majority leader because he was too “moderate,” Frank replied: “Yes, in the sense that I marched in the moderate pride parade last summer and went to a moderate bar.”

    corrected since it was originally published.
  • Ken
    Reuters/Jason Reed

    Ken Mehlman

    History: Former chairman of the Republican National Committee; President Bush’s 2004 campaign manager
    Anti-gay behavior: As described by the Atlantic, Mehlman directed the RNC “at a time when the party was stepping up its anti-gay activities — such as the distribution in West Virginia in 2006 of literature linking homosexuality to atheism, or the less-than-subtle, coded language in the party’s platform.”
    Outed: Rumors of Mehlman’s homosexuality were published by political and gossip magazines as early as 2004, and in 2006, comedian Bill Maher referred to Mehlman as a closeted gay man on national television. Mehlman denied the rumors for years but came out in 2010 in an article in the Atlantic.
    Outcome: Mehlman is now an advocate of same-sex marriage and was integral in mobilizing conservative support for legalization in New York. Of his role for the Bush campaign in 2004, he told Salon this year: “At a personal level, I wish I had spoken out against the effort. As I’ve been involved in the fight for marriage equality, one of the things I’ve learned is how many people were harmed by the campaigns in which I was involved. I apologize to them and tell them I am sorry. While there have been recent victories, this could still be a long struggle in which there will be setbacks, and I’ll do my part to be helpful.”

    corrected since it was originally published.
  • Ed
    AP/Nati Harnick

    Ed Schrock

    History:Former U.S. representative from Virginia; former Naval officer
    Anti-gay behavior:
    ● Voted for the Marriage Protection Act
    ● Was a co-sponsor of the Federal Marriage Amendment
    ● Was a vocal proponent of “don’t ask, don’t tell”
    Outed: In 2004, the gay activist website alleged that Schrock was gay (or at least bisexual) based on evidence that Schrock used services like to meet up with men.
    Outcome: Schrock denies that he is gay but stepped down shortly after the allegations began.

    corrected since it was originally published.
  • Jim
    AP/Jeff T. Green

    Jim West

    History: Former Republican member of Washington state House; former mayor of Spokane
    Anti-gay behavior:
    ● Supported several anti-gay bills, including one that would have prevented LGBT people from working in schools and daycare centers.
    ● He also proposed a law that would outlaw all sexual activity – including touching – between unmarried teenagers.
    Outed: In 2004, a local paper uncovered that West was the man behind username Cobra82 on the website (It was also noted that he had offered unpaid internships to multiple young gay men.)
    Outcome: West admitted to being gay, but defended his legislative record, saying on the “Today” show: “If someone hires you to paint their house red, then you paint it red. Even if you think it would look better green.” He refused to step down as mayor, but was eventually forced out through a special election later in 2005. Before he died in 2006, West said he regretted only one vote from his time in the Legislature: his vote against homosexual employees at schools and daycare centers.

    corrected since it was originally published.
  • Mark
    Reuters/Yuri Gripas

    Mark Foley

    History: Former Republican U.S. representative from Florida
    Anti-gay behavior:
    ● Voted in favor of the Defense of Marriage Act. (He also voted against the constitutional amendment to ban same sex marriage and against banning gays and lesbians from adopting.)
    ● He said that rumors of his homosexuality were “revolting.”
    Outed: In 2006, ABC News reported that Foley had sent sexually explicit messages to male pages, and evidence surfaced that Foley had possibly been behaving inappropriately with male pages for the previous 10 years. Criminal investigations of Foley’s behavior were dropped. The scandal led to Foley coming out as gay and resigning from Congress.
    Outcome: Since that time, Foley has lived in Florida with his long-term partner, who died of natural causes in March of this year.

    corrected since it was originally published.
  • Ted
    Reuters/Phil McCarten

    Ted Haggard

    History: Founder and former pastor of New Life Church in Colorado Springs, former leader of the National Association of Evangelicals
    Anti-gay behavior:
    ● Haggard was vehement in his conviction that homosexuality was a sin. He said that this was “clearly written in the Bible” and that gay pride parades were “like having Murderer’s Pride Day.”
    ● He and his church actively supported Amendment 43 – a ban on gay marriage in Colorado.
    Outed: In 2006, a male prostitute claimed that Haggard had been paying him for sex for three years and that the two also used meth together.
    Outcome: Haggard resigned all of his positions within days and entered counseling to “embrace his heterosexual side.” He now says he would not “do it again” (take part in any sexual act with a man – he claims no “sex” occurred) but his stance is less decisive. In 2011, he told GQ: “There’s nothing repulsive to me about that world [the gay one], but it’s not a temptation anymore.” Haggard maintains that homosexuality is a sin, but also told GQ: “Probably, if I was 21 in this society, I would identify myself as bisexual.”

    corrected since it was originally published.
  • Robert

    Robert Allen

    History: Former Republican Florida state representative
    Anti-gay behavior:
    ● Voted against allowing adoptions by gay and lesbian couples.
    Outed: In 2007, Allen was arrested in a public park bathroom for offering $20 to an undercover cop in exchange for letting Allen perform oral sex on the man.
    Outcome: Allen denied that he wanted to solicit sex, saying that he entered the park bathroom and then offered oral sex because he believed the man wanted to rob him. He backed this idea up, by saying the man was “a pretty stocky black guy,” that there were “a lot of other black guys in the park,” and that he thought he was about “to be a statistic.” Allen resigned in 2007.

    corrected since it was originally published.
  • Richard

    Richard Curtis

    History: Former Republican Washington state representative
    Anti-gay behavior:
    ● Voted against domestic partnerships for homosexuals
    ● Opposed a bill that banned discrimination based on sexual orientation
    Outed: In 2007, Curtis was called out by local news for a sexual encounter with a gay porn model. It was also reported that a variety of sources had multiple times seen Curtis wearing women’s clothing under his own.
    Outcome: Curtis initially denied, and then admitted, the truth of the reports. He resigned in 2007, offering an apology to his family.

    corrected since it was originally published.
  • Larry
    Reuters/Brian Losnes

    Larry Craig

    History: Former Republican U.S. senator from Idaho; former member of the House of Representatives
    Anti-gay behavior:
    ● Supported the Federal Marriage Amendment
    ● Led an effort for more severe punishment of Rep. Barney Frank after Frank’s involvement in a gay prostitution scandal and outing
    Outed: In 2007, Craig was arrested for “lewd conduct” by an undercover police officer in the men’s room of the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport.
    Outcome: Craig denied attempting to solicit sex and famously claimed simply to have a “wide stance.” Nonetheless, he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor (a lesser charge than the original), finished his term in the Senate, and did not seek reelection.

    corrected since it was originally published.
  • Glenn

    Glenn Murphy Jr.

    History: Former president of the Young Republican National Federation
    Anti-gay behavior: Advocated “straight” family values
    Outed: In 2007, Murphy was arrested for performing fellatio on an unwilling man while he slept.
    Outcome: Murphy admitted the events, was charged with sexual assault, and was jailed. He is now a registered sex offender.

    corrected since it was originally published.
  • Troy
    AP/Bob Johnson

    Troy King

    History: Former Alabama attorney general
    Anti-gay behavior:
    ● Vocal opposition to gay rights
    ● Unsuccessfully sought to outlaw the sale of sex toys in Alabama
    Outed: In 2008, King’s was allegedly caught by his wife in bed with a male aide, and kicked out of his home.
    Outcome: King denied the allegations and denies being gay. He lost his reelection campaign in a landslide.

    corrected since it was originally published.
  • Roy
    AP/Rich Pedroncelli

    Roy Ashburn

    History: Former California state senator
    Anti-gay behavior:
    ● Voted against gay marriage and against expanding anti-discrimination laws
    ● Opposed Harvey Milk Day
    Outed: Ashburn was arrested in 2010 for a DUI after leaving a gay bar with a man.
    Outcome: He pleaded “no contest” to the charges and admitted on radio to being gay. When asked if his voting record was hypocritical, Ashburn said that he had a “responsibility to his constituents” when voting. Ashburn is currently serving a term on the State of California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board, to which he was appointed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

    corrected since it was originally published.
  • Eddie
    AP/John Amis

    Eddie Long

    History: Senior pastor at New Birth Missionary Baptist megachurch; popular televangelist
    Anti-gay acts:
    ● Frequently denounces homosexuality
    ● Administers “homosexual cure” programs
    ● In 2004 (with Bernice King) led a march to Martin Luther King Jr.’s grave in support of a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage
    Outed: In 2010, three male parishioners filed separate lawsuits claiming that Long had used his role as pastor to coerce them into sexual relationships with him. A fourth parishioner later filed a similar lawsuit. The plaintiffs described going through a type of marriage ceremony in which Long would bless their sexual union with scripture, candles and jewelry.
    Outcome: Long is still the senior pastor at New Birth, denies the allegations, and maintains that he is straight. The lawsuits were settled out of court.

    corrected since it was originally published.
  • George

    George Rekers

    History: Founding board member of the Family Research Council; Baptist minister; psychologist
    Anti-gay behavior:
    ● Former officer and scientific advisor for the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality, an organization that offers “conversion therapy” to turn LBGT people straight
    ● Testified that homosexuality is sinful and destructive in court case Howard v. Arkansas (The court’s decision overturned a ban on gay adults becoming foster parents.)
    Outed: In 2010, Rekers was caught returning from a trip to Europe with a 23-year old escort he’d hired on Rekers claimed the escort was his “travel assistant” and hired for carrying his luggage, while the escort says he was paid to give sexual massages. (Photos show Rekers carrying his own bags while the escort stands nearby.)
    Outcome: Rekers resigned from NARTH but continues to deny any homosexual behavior.

    corrected since it was originally published.
  • Philip

    Philip Hinkle

    History: Republican Indiana state representative
    Anti-gay behavior: Voted for the constitutional amendment defining marriage as existing only between a man and a woman.
    Outed: In August of 2011, the Indianapolis Star reported that Hinkle had attempted to solicit sex with an 18-year-old man on Craigslist. Emails showed that Hinkle had arranged to pay the would-be escort for “a really good time.” In the end, the younger man changed his mind, prompting Hinkle to offer him money and electronics to keep quiet.
    Outcome: Hinkle admits to this specific incident, but denies being gay and successfully resisted resignation. He says simply that his actions were “stupid” and “I don’t know why I did what I did.”

    corrected since it was originally published.
  • Michael

    Michael Berry

    History: Conservative talk radio show host, former Houston city councilman
    Anti-gay behavior: While Barry’s radio show is more frequently wildly xenophobic than homophobic, let’s review some of his tweets. (Username @MichaelBerrySho):
    ● “What Elton John is doing backstage right now would get him beheaded in Saudi Arabia unless the king joined in. #superbowl”
    ● “Eli Manning gets sacked more than Barney Frank’s interns”
    Outed: In early 2012, Berry accidentally rammed into a parked car outside a gay bar and drove off. Examined in the following hit-and-run investigation, video footage showed that Berry had been inside the bar, and, and when shown Berry’s picture, bouncers and bartenders immediately identified him as a customer.
    Outcome: Berry initially denied the hit-and-run, but has since written a check to the owner of the damaged car. He says he is not gay and explains his presence at the bar saying: “There was cold beer waiting inside.” Berry has also now claimed on his radio show that he has never been anti-gay. “I have never hated gay people; in fact, I’ve gone the exact opposite direction.”

    corrected since it was originally published.