Outing in the open?
Alternative media may alter rules of the past
A combination of perceptions of hypocrisy, changing mores, and the proliferation of alternative web sites may prove problematic for certain lawmakers - and the mainstream media. Some Indianapolis-based web sites may be poised on the edge of the "outing" debate.
Jeff Newman, an outspoken local gay activist who serves as webmaster for Indiana's largest GLBT web site, and who publishes frequently to other local gay-oriented web sites, including his own, cautions gay officials who oppose gay rights measures that "[I]f I were these legislators and was planning to vote the same in round two, I would be pretty damned nervous. They are facing an increasingly angry GLBT community whose tolerance for hypocrisy is at an all-time low." While he says that he is "not likely to name names," that is simply because "I just don't want the hassle. Any of these folks can vehemently deny their gayness, and how could I prove otherwise?"
Gary Welsh, a Republican attorney from Indianapolis, uses his Advance Indiana web site to echo Newman's comments. "These closeted hypocrites had better not count on getting a free ride much longer. Journalistic standards support making their private lives public if they choose to participate in the Christian right's efforts to demonize gays and lesbians and deny fundamental rights to gays and lesbians enjoyed by all other Americans."
But the ex- lobbyist adds "the warning should not be limited to closeted public officials who act hypocritically. The same standard should apply to heterosexual lawmakers who profess to 'support the sanctity of marriage' by opposing gay marriages, while engaging in extra-marital affairs themselves. They can't expect a free ride either." Welsh writes that the Indianapolis Star was rumored a few years ago to have worked on a story about legislative indiscretions, "focusing in particular on a high-ranking legislator who still serves in the legislature." However, he adds, the Star and others "under intense pressure, stopped short of going to print with their stories. Had the news been reported, suffice it to say that the make-up of the Indiana legislature would be quite different than it is today."