Barney Frank Says Aaron Schock Should Be "Exposed," But Is It Ever OK To Out Somebody?
As the nation awaits for the Supreme Court to decide, once and for all, whether same-sex marriage in the U.S. is legal or not in a historic ruling that is expected sometime early in the summer, a virulent anti-gay Illinois Republican Congressman has resigned over unrelenting rumors of his sexuality that he has denied. Now, one of the most prominent gay politicians in the country, Barney Frank, said Rep. Aaron Schock should be "exposed" considering his voting history on gay rights bills.
Frank, who came out as gay in 1987, sat down for an interview with ABC News about his new book, Frank: A life in Politics from the Great Society to Same-Sex Marriage. He said that Schock's hypocrisy in consistently supporting anti-gay measures meant that he lost his right to privacy:
When you are in public office and you vote opposite to the way you live your life, no I don’t think you have privacy. Anyone who is gay and votes in an anti-gay fashion has, it seems to me, lost their right to privacy, because it’s been converted to a right to hypocrisy.
Frank also defended his comment earlier this week that if the rumors about Schock's sexuality weren't true, then the Congressman "spent entirely too much time in the gym for a straight man."
In the interview, Frank said that it was a "valid" joke, and that suggesting otherwise hinted at the notion that being gay was bad:
It’s a joke … making fun of gay men who obsess about being in the gym, and it did seem to me that it was an unusual thing. I don’t know many straight guys who spend that much time in the gym and pose with their shirts off all the time.
Schock has repeatedly firmly denied rumors about him being gay. Amid an FBI investigation into his abuse of public funds — Schock allegedly spent more than $100,000 to renovate his office a la Downton Abbey and used campaign funds for personal trips and concerts including a Katy Perry concert for his staff — the Illinois lawmaker announced he will resign on March 30.
The rumors of his sexuality date back to 2011, after Schock posed topless for the cover of Men's Health. Last week, his father Richard weighed in on the topic, saying that Schock wasn't gay — just "different":
Aaron is a little different. He wears stylish clothing and yet he’s not gay…and he’s not married and he’s not running around with women, so everybody is throwing up their arms. They can’t figure out Aaron, so he must be crooked. So attack him, bring him down, because he doesn’t fit into our picture.
CBS journalist Itay Hod appeared to have outed Schock last year, citing his disgust with closeted gay politicians presenting themselves as anti-gay straight men. But how ethical is it to out someone as gay? Despite his voting record, Steven Petrow at the Washington Post accused the media of pink-baiting Schock, and some criticized the gay community's celebration of his downfall. But Chris Sosa, writing in defense of Hod last year that outing Schock was fair game, said:
The case of closeted Republican gays has long been a source of consternation among the LGBT community. General consensus still relies on the idea that "outing" is a morally problematic thing to do because, in the past, publicly declaring someone's sexual orientation could put them at risk for violence and harassment.
In the situation of someone like Aaron Schock, this consideration is rendered inconsequential. It wouldn't matter if outing Schock put him at risk of physical violence because he is a man who has made a career out of harming minority individuals.
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