The Dirty Half Dozen-- The 6 Worst Homophobes In The House
The first time I ever heard of former wingnut Congressman Ernest Istook (R-OK) was when I read a blurb in the Advocate listing the most dangerous members of Congress to the gay community. As time went on I noticed he was very aggressive in pushing a hate-filled anti-gay agenda (which increased when he left the Baptist Church and became a Mormon). Years later he wound up on another list-- as one of the most corrupt of the Abramoff co-conspirators in ripping off American Indian tribes.
Istook left Congress to run for governor and was the victim of the biggest gubernatorial history in many decades as he was swamped-- in the reddest state in the Union-- by Democrat Brad Henry. Henry took 66.5% of the vote and 74 of Oklahoma's 77 counties. Istook won in the state's 3 most backward counties, the three that make up the Panhandle, Beaver, Cimarron and Texas. It turned out one of his campaign staffers, Jordan Edmund, was one of the underaged male pages Republican Mark Foley had molested.
Still very much an obsessed homophobic sociopath, who bragged he would never hire a gay person to work for him, he never lets up demonizing gay people. People wonder who the next Ernest Istooks are likely to be.
Unfortunately, just looking at the voting records of House Members does not tell the story. ProgressivePunch scores all House members on a dozen roll call votes since 2004 that directly impacted gay people. 146 currently serving Republicans (plus one Blue Dog, Travis Childers of Mississippi) can boast ZERO scores! Only 32 Republicans don't have zeroes, including Ahn Cao (who has a disgraceful 50%, Mary Bono Mack (with an event more horrible 33.33% and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (also at 33.33%), all of whom represent large gay populations, respectively, New Orleans, Palm Springs and Miami Beach/Key West. The only gay closet case who doesn't score a zero is Illinois Senate candidate Mark Kirk (who scored a 25%). Closeted gays who voted against people every single time they had an opportunity to include David Dreier (CA), Trent Franks (AZ), Patrick McHenry (NC), Dana Rohrabacher (CA), Aaron Schock (IL), and Adrian Smith (NE).
So how do we define the worst of the worst? I may bear a particular animus toward lock-step anti-gay fanatics who represent large gay constituencies, like homophobic fanatic-- and zero-- John Culberson (R-TX) whose constituents include an awful lot of gay men and women in Houston's Montrose area. And I also harbor some animus towards closet cases-- even "everyone knows" types like David Dreier-- who vote against equality for gays in less favorable positions than they are. Ironically, Dreier, a zero himself, was vetoed for the Republican House Leader position by Roy Blunt based soley on the fact that he's gay. You'd think they guy would grok the concept of being discriminated against! But I decided when researching this piece to leave all that stuff aside and just concentrate on members of Congress who are proactively anti-gay, over and above their dismal voting records.
Let's take, for example, Dan Lungren (R-CA). Forget that he's a zero; they almost all are. Instead, notice that on March 4 last year he authored and proposed a constitutional amendment targeting gays and lesbians. As it turns out, his pernicious amendment, H.J.Res. 37 was referred to Jerrold Nadler's Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties, where it died the death it deserved. Forty Republicans rushed to co-sponsor it, including loudly bigoted gay-haters like Paul Broun (R-GA), Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA, traumatized at an early age for his transgender first name), Mike Pence (R-IN), Steve King (R-IA), closet queen Trent Franks (R-AZ), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Eric Cantor (R-VA), Pete Hoekstra (R-MI), Thaddeus McCotter (R-MI), John Mica (R-FL), Dan Burton (R-IN), Ken Calvert (R-CA), a shameless congressman arrested fleeing in a parked car with his pants down around his ankles when caught with a junkie-hooker by the police, and Jason Chaffetz (R-UT). And speaking of Chaffetz...
Chaffetz has appointed himself spokesperson for the GOP's anti-gay squad. When the Washington DC City Council voted 12-1 to recognize same sex marriages legally performed in other jurisdictions, Chaffetz went to war. "Some things are worth fighting for, and this is one of them," said Rep. Jason Chaffetz (Utah), the ranking Republican on a House Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee that oversees the District. "It's not something I can let go softly into the night... I recognize the Democrats are in the majority, but I represent the majority of Americans on this issue." Or at least the majority of Utah voters who don't live inside the city limits of Salt Lake City.
Soon after, virulent gay-haters Jim Jordan (R-OH) and Dan Boren (D-OK) introduced a bill to force DC to not recognize same-sex marriage. A Pat Robertson front group filed an anti-marriage equality brief on behalf of 37 House members suing to stop the city from recognizing same sex marriages. Some very familiar names on that list: Robert Aderholt, Todd Akin, Michele Bachmann, Gresham Barrett, Roscoe Bartlett, Marsha Blackburn, John Boehner, John Boozman, Eric Cantor, Jason Chaffetz, John Fleming, Randy Forbes, Virginia Foxx, Scott Garrett, Phil Gingrey, Louie Gohmert, Jeb Hensarling, Wally Herger, Walter Jones, Jim Jordan, Steve King, Jack Kingston, John Kline, Doug Lamborn, Robert Latta, Don Manzullo, Michael McCaul, Thaddeus McCotter, North Carolina closet case Patrick McHenry, Cathy McMorris Rogers, Jeff Miller, Jerry Moran, Randy Neugebauer, Mike Pence, Joe Pitts, Mark Souder, and Todd Tiahrt.
On October 21 the House voted-- overwhelmingly-- to pass Tom Harkin's bill to amend title XXVI of the Public Health Service Act to revise and extend the program for providing life-saving care for those with HIV/AIDS (the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Extension Act of 2009). For normal Americans, regardless of party, it was a non-controversial, bipartisan endeavor and it passed 408-9. All the Democrats (including homophobic Blue Dogs who routinely vote against gay equality) and 162 Republicans including every single GOP closet case in the House and most of the garden variety hatemongers, voted for it. So who voted "no?" A motley array of the most vitriolic, hate-filled Republican bigots who come crawling out from under their rocks to revel in this kind of thing, including two on our list of the worst of the worst, Virginia Foxx and Louie Gohmert. Time for the list of the six worst, the ones who are always at the front of the line when it comes to kicking around gay people, the ones who scream the loudest and make the ugliest faces:
The Haters Who Act On Their Hate
Steve King (R-IA)- Where do we start with this raving package of pure Satanic hatred? How about the sick, McCarthyite letter King wrote to President Obama demanding he fire Kevin Jennings, the Assistant Deputy Secretary at the Department of Education for the Office of Safe and Drug Free Schools. (Co-signers, obviously, included the rest of the Dirty Half Dozen.) Or maybe we should stick to Iowa and his classy reaction to the ruling by his state's Supreme Court recognizing that all Iowans were entitled to marriage equality.
Virginia Foxx (R-NC)- Poor Foxx built her entire demented career around spewing hatred towards gay people, first in the North Carolina legislature and more recently on the floor of the U.S. Congress, where she is considered one of the two dozen least effective, least influential members. Ironically she's become a kind of "fag hag" for Republican closet queen Patrick McHenry and he's one of the only members of Congress willing to be seen in public with her, especially after her demented tirade directed at Matthew Shepard's grieving mother. (See video below.) I don't know if any gay people read DWT or not but if you know any, please let them know that Blue America has endorsed Billy Kennedy, the progressive Democrat running against Foxx, and that he could use some help in the fundraising department, even if just a $10 or $20 contribution.
Louie Gohmert (R-TX)- Half of the Republican Party tag team of bigotry with Utah wingnut Jason Chaffetz, Gohmert was famously dubbed, by Rachel Maddow, Oscar the Grouch, popping out of his trash can to take aim at active duty military personnel who happen to be gay. Watch the video of him annoying members of the House by talking about his perverted sexual fantasies.
Jason Chaffetz (R-UT)- This one has decided his path to political ascendancy among the Mormons is through anti-gay demagoguery. Mormons, whose victimization at the hands of the narrow-minded isn't so far in the past, should know better.
Trent Franks (R-AZ)- The only closet case in the Bottom Six, Franks was driven out of the Arizona state legislature for his aggressive sexual behavior towards younger males. Safely ensconced in the Republican congressional caucus he figures that as long as he can bray homophobic epithets loudly enough, no one will figure out what he does when the lights go out. Best known for calling President Obama an enemy of humanity and claiming that African-Americans may have been better off when they were slaves, Franks is the definition of a kind of self-loathing homosexual that mostly went extinct in the early 1960s.
Duncan Hunter, Jr (R-CA)- Hoping to live up to his father's reputation as the most hysterical homophobe in Congress, Junior is as dumb as a brick and Aaron Schock's secret heartthrob. Because he served in the Marine Corps the GOP has tasked him with speaking out against equality for gays serving in the military. He does it badly and it is widely rumored that his confused statements about hermaphrodites stems from having been molested as a child. He, like the other 5, should see a psychiatrist and stop trying to victimize other taxpaying, law-abiding American citizens.
I just opened an ActBlue page to address homophobia. Can you help?