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Opinion

Journalists debate the ethics of outing by outing GOP lawmaker

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Beltway Confidential,Opinion,Politico,Huffington Post,Gay rights,Charles Hoskinson

Did you hear the rumor about the Republican congressman who's secretly gay?

Perhaps not. But if you read Politico, the Huffington Post, BuzzFeed or some other news organizations, you probably already know who he is. That's because in the process of discussing whether it's ethical to "out" a public figure, those organizations have made sure the world knows he may be gay.

The outing originated with a facebook post Saturday that did not name the lawmaker. But the author of the post, journalist Itay Hod, suggested that he should be outed as a hypocrite for voting against the interests of organized gay groups on issues such as gay marriage.

I won't name him here, or link to any organization that does, because I have no proof he's gay, and, to be honest, don't care. And there's not a shred of evidence that the lawmaker's alleged personal relationships have any bearing on his congressional duties, regardless of what the outing crowd wants to think about his opposition on issues they hold dear. There are plenty of "out" gay conservatives who also have differences with that agenda.

It's not as if he were a Democratic former House speaker who bashes Wall Street while being married to a multimillionaire venture capitalist whose wealth helped finance her political career. Or a Democratic Senate committee chairman who tried to get his girlfriend nominated as a federal prosecutor.

This may come as a shock to outing activists, but sexual orientation may influence political beliefs but it does not dictate them.

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