Archive for Monday, February 20, 2012

Arizona sheriff facing long odds after gay outing

February 20, 2012


— Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu built a reputation as a rising, conservative star by taking a hardline stance against illegal immigration, attacking the Obama administration and appearing alongside Sen. John McCain in a 2010 re-election ad in which McCain urged federal officials to just “complete the danged fence.”

But, on Saturday, Babeu’s conservative image took a beating as he was forced to admit publicly that he is gay and was involved in a relationship with a Mexican immigrant who claims the sheriff threatened to have him deported if he revealed their relationship.

Babeu denies any wrongdoing and has vowed to continue his battle for the GOP nomination in an extremely conservative rural congressional district. He recognizes he is fighting an uphill battle, especially in a state where family values, as defined by a large evangelical Christian and Mormon population, often battle fierce, anti-immigrant beliefs to define conservatism.

At a lengthy press conference, Babeu said he hopes voters will overlook his personal lifestyle and stick with him.

His competitors think voters will reject him, with Arizona Sen. Ron Gould saying he’s sure to lose major support among the family-values voters who oppose gay marriage.

Babeu previously avoided a public stance on gay rights but came out in favor them Saturday.

“I can be a supporter and get out there and help articulate as we progress as a culture and a society, that there should be individual liberties and there should be individual freedoms,” Babeu said. “For any other person to define somebody else’s relationship and say it’s not OK, that is not who we are as Americans.”

Saturday’s revelation already forced Babeu to call presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s staff to say he would step down from his post as state campaign co-chairman. Some political observers think his career could be over.

“There is no question that his budding congressional campaign is over,” longtime Arizona Republican political consultant Sean Noble wrote on his blog. “Because it is a Republican primary in a conservative district, it’s likely that the thing that hurts him the most is that he was in a gay relationship.”

Others aren’t sure it’s the end, but they said there’s no doubt he will be hurt.


Chris Golledge 6 years ago

There must be something engrained in our thinking patterns about "us" and "them".
"Us" = good, "them" = bad.

And this leads to thinking in terms of everything "they" do is "bad" and everything "we" do is good. So, when we find out that not all the attributes of a person fit in with our preconceptions of "good", it must mean that the person is a deceiver, a betrayer. After all, "they" made us believe that they were like "us" (and therefore "good"), but they turned out to have some attribute that evoked an emotional response of "bad". Once you learn that someone you previously thought of as "us" has some attribute that reminds you of over-cooked broccoli, it is easier for most people to decide that "they" are some form of betrayer, and hence definitely not still "us", than it is for them to think, "Maybe I am wrong".

"hypocrite_s_" Fixed if for you.

Bob Forer 6 years ago

I guess a "gay republican" is no longer an oxymoron. Let's just call them morons. It's beyond me why any gay person would join a party with Rick Santorum as one its major presidential candidates.

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