FILE - In this Friday, June 17, 2011 file photo, Republican presidential hopeful Herman Cain speaks at the Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans. Bolstered by support from his loyal radio talk-show audience and tea partyers, businessman Herman Cain has revved up mainstream conservatives, rising recently to third place in a poll of voters in Iowa, the leadoff caucus state. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File) (AP)

Homosexuality accusations fly within Cain campaign

The presidential hopeful has himself called homosexuality "a sin" and "a choice"

Justin Elliott
July 5, 2011 7:55PM (UTC)

Politico has an item up describing a crisis in Herman Cain's Iowa office, including the departure of a few key staffers. But this passage stands out:

The [resignation of a top Iowa staffer], which shakes the campaign of the tea party favorite into turmoil in a state where he’s staking much of his 2012 hopes, comes after weeks of swirling rumors between Cain’s staff and volunteers in the Hawkeye State accusing each other of affairs, homosexuality and professional misconduct.

“A lot of volunteers, who worked hard for five months, are all leaving the campaign,” said one Iowa volunteer.

Is being gay now akin to professional misconduct, something that a person is accused of? When I asked Cain spokesman Ellen Carmichael about the reported "rumors," she charged that the Politico piece "lacked full information from an authoritative source -- the campaign itself." She added: "In regards to 'rumors,' they are just that -- rumors."


I asked if it's considered acceptable in the Cain campaign for staffers to be gay. Carmichael emailed one line in response: "It is illegal to discriminate."

Cain, for the record, said last month that he believes homosexuality is both "a sin" and "a choice." So if there are gay people on his staff, it's easy to imagine it might not be the most accepting work environment.

(Cain also famously promised not to hire Muslims in his future Cabinet, later qualifying that he would quiz potential nominees on their views on the Constitution. )


Here is Cain outlining his views on homosexuality:


Justin Elliott

Justin Elliott is a reporter for ProPublica. You can follow him on Twitter @ElliottJustin

MORE FROM Justin ElliottFOLLOW elliottjustin

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

2012 Elections War Room

Fearless journalism
in your inbox every day

Sign up for our free newsletter

• • •