GOP Outing Campaign Hits Minnesota State Senator

Raw Story reports that activist blogger Michael Rogers has outed another Republican politician – Minnesota State Senator Paul Koering. They quote Koering as saying:

“Somebody who is possibly in the closet and uses their bully pulpit or their position to bash gay people or to make gay people’s lives difficult… and are in essence leading a double life – people like that need to be exposed for the hypocrite that they are,” Koering says.

“And I sometimes find that, I feel that the people that you find who are hollering the loudest and who are putting people down the most are the ones that have the most to hide,” he added. “They’re so uncomfortable in their own skin that they have to tear everybody else down to make themselves feel good.”In an interview with the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Koering tells a different story about his “outing:”

“I’ve always thought that my personal life was just that — personal,” Koering said. “But over the last couple of months there’s been a gradual ramping up of calls and questions. And then with the vote that I took last week [breaking with Republicans on a procedural vote on the amendment], it sparked a frenzy of questions.” Family, close friends and associates in Brainerd, and GOP Senate colleagues all knew that he was gay, Koering said.

…At about the time of the vote, gay and lesbian activists were e-mailing reporters and legislators pictures of Koering allegedly taken at a gay bar in Minneapolis. He doesn’t seem pleased with efforts to “out” him against his will. He says of pressure from the activists: “They can do, and I’m sure they will continue to do, whatever they want, which I think is a sad state of affairs. … But they did NOT precipitate my decision.Ironically BlogActive’s Mike Rodgers is the one who feels violated.

Update: John Byrne at Raw Story writes to say that the Star Tribune comments need to be appreciated in context. They’ve published a much more complete backstory on Koering and Rogers conversations. It’s worth a read.

In somewhat of a chicken/egg conundrum, Koering in the Raw Story article indicates that he outed himself after being initially contacted by Rogers. As the story indicates, Rogers didn’t plan on outing Koering, and Rogers was actually caught off guard when Koering went to the local media. Koering states that his friends and associates knew he was gay, so it seems to me that Rogers initial phone call OR the possibility of pictures of Koering at a gay bar was the tipping point for Koering publicly outing himself.

The fact that Koering went to the media himself, to me indicates that he knew the issue about his sexual orientation was “in play” and would never disappear. Rogers or the mysteriously circulating picture(s) may have ignited the situation, but Koering says the decision to come out was his own, and was the right thing for him to do. Good for him.

[5:00 PM Typo’s corrected]

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