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Laramie Movie Scope: Outrage

The outing of closeted homosexual Republican politicians

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by Robert Roten, Film Critic
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November 4, 2009 -- Turnabout is fair play. This is a story about the foxes who turned on their pursuing dogs and started to hunt them. It isn't easy for a fox to hunt a dog, they are at a huge disadvantage in numbers, but they are also crafty. In this case, the dogs are Republican politicians and the foxes are homosexuals. The dogs started hunting the foxes about 30 years ago, purely for political advantage over Democrats. It was about the same time the dogs started hunting abortionists, and for exactly the same reasons. Homosexual causes and abortion rights are “wedge issues” the dogs could use to their advantage to gain political power by attracting right-wing evangelical Christians.

The fox who turned the tables on the dogs is Michael Rogers, founder of blogactive. He outed Senator Larry Craig (R-Idaho) on Oct. 17, 2006, on his web site. He quoted several men who said they had sex with Craig. Rogers also outed Congressman Ed Schrock, (R-Virginia), causing him to drop out of his re-election bid. Rogers said, “I am going to tell people who these horrible traitors are, and they are traitors to their people. I believe that. I felt it was time for me to start reporting that as hypocrisy, not outing people who are gay, but reporting on individuals who are working against the community that they then expect to protect them.” Rogers is “the most feared man,” on Capitol Hill, according to the Washington Post.

David Catania, Washington, D.C. city councilman, said, “The fact that Senator Larry Craig and those like him, can engage in homosexual activity one minute and then try to write us out of existence the next ... there's no punishment harsh enough, as far as I'm concerned.” He added, Michael's (Rogers) decided that they have been chasing us for years and what Michael represents is, we're going to chase back. Now that upsets the rules because everyone knows that the hounds chase the foxes. Well this fox is chasing the hounds and it's got them all bent out of shape. I say more power to him."

It is hard to get the mainstream media to pay any attention to the issue, despite Rogers best efforts. The mainstream media is happy to cover heterosexual sex scandals, but is very wary of homosexual-related stories. Several arguments are made in the film to explain this dichotomy in coverage, ranging from issues of perceived fairness, to hints that a number of journalists are gay. The film argues that large numbers of staffers on Capitol Hill are gay also. The film gives the impression that there are as many gay people in Washington politics as there are in the Broadway theater business.

There are the obligatory interviews with Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass) of course, perhaps the most famous openly gay member of Congress. Added to that are interviews with Jim Kolbe, a former U.S. Representative who was outed, Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis), one of three openly gay members of Congress and James McGreevey, the former Governor of New Jersey, who was also outed. All of them talk about the relief they felt after they publicly acknowledged their true sexuality, and the burden they had felt when they were covering it up. The film argues that politicians who admit their sexuality often rethink their positions on gay rights issues, and offers some proof that's the case. One man, a high-ranking official in the National Republican Party joined a gay rights organization after being outed by Rogers.

The film singles out Mary Cheney, daughter of former Vice President Richard Cheney for special criticism. Mary Cheney is criticized for not doing enough to advance gay rights. The film fails to mention that Richard Cheney has publicly stated he is in favor of gay marriage. I find it curious that this fact is left out. The film also mentions the widely held view that President George W. Bush was not really a very strong proponent of measures to outlaw gay marriage. The implication is he supported those measures simply to curry favor with the religious right. The argument being made in the film is that Mary Cheney could have, all by herself, reversed these political postures. I don't buy that argument. Perhaps Richard Cheney could have had a big impact, but Mary? No, I don't think so. She is a minor player in this game of power politics. She is no match for the likes of Karl Rove. She isn't Bush's brain and she isn't Bush's conscience, either, so get off her case. Bush can take responsibility for his own decisions.

While much of this material is familiar to those who follow the news, some of it was new to me. I had not heard, for instance, the allegation that Florida Governor Charlie Crist is gay. The film offers some evidence that Crist is gay, and tellingly, when Crist is asked, point blank, about his sexual orientation on camera he doesn't say he isn't gay. Instead, he sidesteps the question. Former New York City mayor Ed Koch is another alleged gay about whom I had not heard the allegation, nor had I heard about similar allegations about Rep. Jim McCrery (R-LA), or Rep. David Dreier (R-Calif.), or Ken Mehlman, the 2004 manager of the gay-bashing Bush/Cheney presidential campaign. This is definitely a side of the news that gets very little play in the mainstream media. For that reason alone, this film is worth a look. This film rates a B.

Click here for links to places to buy or rent this movie in digital formats, or to buy the soundtrack, posters, books, even used videos, games, electronics and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

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Copyright © 2009 Robert Roten. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
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Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at my last name at lariat dot org. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]

(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)