"...the worst sort of gutter politics and gay baiting..."
This is nothing new on the part of Democrats. Here are some excerpts from a 1996 article by Karen Tumulty in Time Magazine: A New Twist On Sexual Politics: Some Democrats Are Hinting That Their G.O.P. Opponents Are Gay.
One such case is in Columbus, Ohio. For almost 14 years it had
passed without comment that the local Congressman, John Kasich, the
powerful chairman of the House Budget Committee, stretches his
paycheck by sharing a Virginia town house for the two or three nights
a week that Congress is in session. His housemate? His male chief of
staff. Last month Cynthia Ruccia, Kasich's Democratic challenger,
called for a Justice Department investigation of what she said was
'a serious appearance of impropriety'; because Kasich, who is
divorced, lived with someone whose government salary he controls.
That was the official question. What it unofficially implied was
that the two men might be otherwise involved. Though Ruccia denies
that she intended to leave that impression, Kasich's office inevitably
found itself having to deny that either man is gay. No federal
investigation is likely. (To begin with, the Justice Department does
not examine 'appearances.') As it happens, Ruccia had long been
a high-profile supporter of gay rights and Kasich an occasional ally
at best. (He voted yes on AIDS funding, no on gay marriage.) But by
raising the issue, she stands to benefit from whatever doubt she
creates in the minds of voters hostile to gays.
Even Democrats were crying foul. 'It was the worst sort of
gutter politics and gay baiting,'; says Bob Fitrakis, Kasich's
1992 Democratic opponent. And the gay community in Kasich's
congressional district also sensed an invitation to gay baiting.
'It's disappointing to see it from a party that has been the most
progressive on the issues,'; says Phil Martin, president of
Stonewall Union, Ohio's largest gay-rights organization, which counts
Ruccia as a member.
Remember the money line:
"But by raising the issue, she stands to benefit from whatever doubt she
creates in the minds of voters hostile to gays."
It's time for Tim Kaine to speak out against gutter politics.