Many people have this belief that gays all think alike, look alike, act alike, and have the same agenda. Anything that one of us does is blamed on the entire community. So I am going to take this opportunity to use the "royal we" about Mark Foley.
This is what Mark Foley's lawyer said today:
"Mark Foley wants you to know he is a gay man,"
This is what I have to say:
We don't want you.
I understand the struggles of the closet. I know that in many parts of this world, you will lose everything you have, including your life, if you come out of the closet. Not everyone who stays in the closet is a coward, or self-hating, or a disgrace. Some people stay hidden for their entire lives and yet they help people and help make the world a better place.
Even Jim McGreevey (who also hid in the closet until he no longer had a choice), as scummy and self-serving as his behavior was, I could somewhat sympathize with him because he had at least been supportive of most gay rights causes and had not supported homophobia for political gain.
Mark Foley, on the other hand, aside from a few safe votes on bills that were not going to pass with or without his support (such as Employment Non Discrimination Act, and the Marriage "Protection" Amendment), consistently worked with the most homophobic, craven, opportunistic politicians this country has ever seen. In 2004, he stood by Bush's side, happy and content, as Bush and his cronies conducted a vicious anti-gay campaign across this country. He always put his party first, even as his party worked tirelessly to defame and exploit gay Americans for partisan gain. Foley's money helped elect a slew of homophobic politicians all across America, for over 10 years. The years from 1995 to 2006 were some of the most momentous ever for gays in this country, and while gays of other political parties faced constant smear campaigns, while Steve Gunderson and Jim Kolbe of his own party were shunned, while Kolbe was greeted with silence and contempt at his party's national convention, Foley did not stand by their side. Foley sided with the most bigoted elements of his party time and time again. In 2003, when Mark Foley was outed while running for the Senate, he once again chose to stay silent, to reinforce the belief that being gay is a political death sentence in the Republican Party.
It was not enough for Mark Foley to collude with those whose main goal is to dehumanize the lives of gays for political or ideological gain. Mark Foley now - WHEN HE HAS NOTHING LEFT TO LOSE - suddenly comes out of the closet. He brings his jagged skeletons toppling out with him. Mark Foley manages to reinforce a slew of ugly, destructive, devastating stereotypes about molestation "turning" people gay, about gays preying on young men, about not being able to trust gays in a position of power because they will use their power to exploit youth.
Mark Foley has kneecapped every single gay politician in America today. He has hurt the chances of young men and women around the country who want to work with children, yet are turned away because of their sexual orientation. This scandal may even help accelerate bans on gay adoption or gay foster care. This is a dream come true for the same fundamentalist extremes he enabled for his entire political career.
Where we you when we needed you, Mark Foley?
You weren't there.
Where are we when you suddenly need us, Mark Foley?
We aren't there.
We don't want you.