Admiral Mullen's testimony before Congress about repealing the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy was one of the most honest, profound moments I can recall seeing in a hearing. He said this:
"We have in place a policy that forces young men and women to lie about who they are in order to defend their fellow citizens," Mullen said. "For me, personally, it comes down to integrity: Theirs as an individual, ours as an institution."
His point, of course, was to stress the damage done to anyone who is consistently forced to live a lie. Apparently, it took a toll on Rep. Mark Kirk, the GOP candidate for President Obama's Senate seat.
Mike Rogers, a blogger known for outing gay politicians, writes this:
In an effort to move the base in the Illinois Senate race, Kirk decided to tack right and that means throwing the gays (like him) under the bus. And once he voted that way, the phone began to ring. Not one or two, or three but 5 separate individuals contacted me about the now divorced Mr. Kirk. (Mr. and Mrs. Kirk were married from 2001 to 2009, the marriage produced no children.)
Rogers is known for being pretty accurate about the politicians he outs. He backs up his claim with this:
"In law school in DC everyone knew Mark was gay," the first source told me. I explained that the information was intriguing, it would not be enough to go on. He continued, "But I had sex with him a number of times." Well, now we're onto something I thought. "Could someone verify for me that you knew Kirk and went to school with him?" I asked. "Yes" was the swift reply. "Could you recall personal details about Kirk that others may not know?" "Yes," he said.
And he did.
The next source claimed to have gone to undergraduate school with Kirk. I asked for proof that he and Kirk were in school together and once that was shared with me, I met with the source. The source introduced me to a man who had also been friends with Kirk in college. They both shared with me their interactions with Kirk, including one sexual in nature. The source who claimed to have sex with Kirk described personal details about the House, um, er, "member." The description was the same as the first source.
And in DC, Kirk wasn't all THAT closeted. You see Mark Kirk told me he was gay. Before I had BlogActive, I had a life in Washington. As a fundraiser I raised major gifts from $5,000 to over $1,000,000... You don't do that kind of work at a keyboard, you do it at events attended by people with money. The movers and shakers and their friends.
This follows Kirk having to apologize for misstating his military service in an ad. (Where's the New York Times when you need 'em?)
In a country where liberty is such a high value (particularly to conservatives!), Mark Kirk should be able to be conservative and gay, and not held to a standard of hypocrisy in order to run for office as a Republican, but this is what happens when politics gets in bed with religion. When Republicans decided they were going to be arbiters of morality, they forced patriotic members of our Armed Services to lie and invited Mark Kirk to sacrifice integrity for ambition.
Admiral Mullen was right, and it looks like Rep. Kirk needs to do some digging to decide whether he wants liberty or the mask of forced hypocrisy. Either way, his integrity is shot.