Reported originally at Q-Notes Online on June 3, news of Linda Ketner’s so-called “outing” of three Palmetto State Republicans spread like a wildfire through the liberal and LGBT blogosphere. Ketner, a lesbian, 2008 candidate for South Carolina’s First Congressional District, told FireDogLake blogger Howie Klein that U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, S.C. Sen. Glenn McConnell and Lt. Gov. André Bauer were all closeted gays.
Much like the premiere of the film “Outrage,” which explores several high-profile outings, the news of Ketner’s statements has sparked a controversy over outing and its merits, or lack thereof.
I support the outing of closeted, anti-gay elected officials, but certainly not just the Republicans — anti-gay Democrats and those from other parties are just as much at risk. I’ve always believed that the main issue is hypocrisy: How dare an elected official vote against the LGBT community when he or she is engaging in some of the same-sexual behavior they work to eradicate? Hypocrisy has no place in public service. None.
But, like blogger and activist Michael Rogers, I also believe that outing should be done wisely, with facts and solid evidence. What Ketner did really wasn’t “outing.” In our reporting you’ve seen us use quotation marks around the word and describe her statements in other ways. As Charleston City Paper Gay Charleston blogger Greg Hambrick said, all Ketner really is guilty of is spreading “cocktail chatter.”
Unfortunately, “cocktail chatter” can get you into a load of trouble. Trust me, I know. I once got into similar hot water after participating in online rumor-mongering about North Carolina’s Rep. Patrick McHenry and some of his colleagues and peers.
Ketner has apologized for her remarks (as I once had to do). Hopefully her statements won’t come back to haunt her if she ever runs for office again. Here’s to looking forward to 2010 and her next possible candidacy and second attempt at giving Henry Brown the boot.