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Senator Craig’s “Gay” Comments Rile Human Rights Advocates

August 29, 2007

Boise, ID – Idaho Senator Larry Craig (R) is in the headlines again today for his arrest and guilty plea in a lewd conduct case. Craig defended himself yesterday by stating, "I am not gay."

That's a strange way for Craig to explain his actions, according to retired hospital chaplain and former Idahoan Bob Spencer, now the spokesman for a Wyoming-based gay rights organization. Spencer says he found the Senator’s comments "offensive," for his inference that being gay would be on a par with criminal behavior.

"I think some people who are gay, or families of people who are gay, will feel angry. I think some of them will feel like I do -– furious."

Spencer says Senator Craig’s obvious fear of being labeled "gay" is an example of the real-life barriers that gay, lesbian, and transgendered people face.

"There are a lot of people in the gay community that at one or time or another have probably tried to deny that they’re gay because they’re afraid of what could happen, when repercussions could be out there."

Senator Craig pleaded guilty to charges of disorderly conduct in an investigation into bathroom behavior in the Minneapolis Airport. He was arrested in June.

Deborah Smith/Eric Mack, Public News Service - ID