Saturday, April 12, 2008

Come out, come out, wherever you are!

Chronicle Herald reporter Stephen Maher lets us in on the big 'secret' that one of Harper's cabinet ministers is gay - (like nobody knew...) Harper? Homophobic? One of his top cabinet ministers is gay:

ONE OF Stephen Harper’s senior cabinet ministers is a closeted homosexual.

Because the minister’s desire to keep his or her sex life private outweighs whatever public interest there might be in letting readers know about that sex life, reporters never write about it.

Similarly, reporters in the gallery never reported on a married Liberal cabinet minister who had a much younger same-sex lover.

Politicians should be able to have whatever kind of sex they like, so long as they don’t do it in the street and scare the horses. But it is worth pointing out that there is a homosexual minister in Mr. Harper’s government, because it shows that there are gay people everywhere and also shows that Mr. Harper is not personally hostile to gays and lesbians...


Maher thinks that Harper should take Brad Wall's lead and discuss ways to reach out to the gay community, like say, sending a Cabinet minister to the Gay Pride Parade in Toronto.

Well, I'm not sure that Harper would want to follow that exact suggestion.


* * * *
Update: Over at Cherniak's, Nicol points out in comments that many Progressives show intolerance towards Christians, and a gay commenter agrees with him:

"On the other hand, progressives should also learn that some people they know might be Evangelical or Catholic and not think lesser of them either. Trust me, the assumptions and opportunities lost go both ways and progressives are no where near as tolerant as perhaps you like to think around people who are practicing Catholics or Evangelical."

I agree with that... I'm gay/have a lot of "progressive" friends, but when religion comes up, some of them can be so intolerant.. it's ridiculous.

* * * *
Memo to Mike Duffy - in comment section.


65 comments:

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Note: If you have an idea who the alleged persons are in the article, please use a code name or hint rather than an actual name.

eg. Rhymes with 'Scared', or some such moniker.

Simeon (Sam) George Drakich said...

Keep politics out of the bed room and vice versa.

Anonymous said...

I didn't know that he was gay and I don't care an iota that he is. I read the Chronicles column and am disappointed (again) at what makes it as “news”. On the other side of the equation, I do think this topic raises a valid point about privacy; something the person in question is entitled to – or maybe not (?) Does being in Canadian politics strip you of your privacy in a non-political area – or is everything you do (or have done) now politically related and make you game for the political paparazzi. In looking back at the gay folks I’ve met, or at least the ones that I knew were gay, none of them actually told me they were gay – somebody else always did it for them. “Hey Barry, were going stop by at so-and-so’s and just so you’re aware: she’s gay.” I’m always slightly put off when this happens – I mean, who cares? Certainly not me, but I do care about a persons privacy and hope that there is still some available for our MP’s.

Barry LW

Gabby in QC said...

I don't know why this should be an issue. If I remember correctly, the Minister in question answered that he is gay during a CPAC interview when the Conservatives were having their policy convention in Montreal (2005), prior to their becoming the government.
The Minister in question apparently was outed by a satirical magazine prior to that.

This is just another attempt by the writer of the Chronicle Herald article to apply the idiotic syllogism of "Stephen Harper doesn't attend Gay Games / AIDS Conferences / Gay Pride Parades therefore he's homophobic."

If Stephen Harper doesn't attend classical music concerts, is he also anti-music?

If he doesn't attend soccer games, is he anti-soccer?

For Pete's sake, I know recycling is important, but it doesn't mean it should involve recycling old stories, Steve Maher.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

This is just another attempt by the writer of the Chronicle Herald article to apply the idiotic syllogism of "Stephen Harper doesn't attend Gay Games / AIDS Conferences / Gay Pride Parades therefore he's homophobic."

Well said, Gabby.

I think we all agree here that whether or not a person in political office is gay is of little consequence, unless they are wearing it like a badge in an attempt to score political points or public sympathy with it.

For example you'll often hear George Smitherman say, "Well as a gay man... yadda yadda..."

Anonymous said...

With all this wink-wink going on in the media, it does seem that they are the ones that want names revealed.

They can use wiggle words, and encourage the unspoken to become the whispered, until the politician is obliged to come out.

I thought that it was up to any individual to be the one to come out.

But, I would put it back to the media to come out themselves, on declaring their political leanings, and whether anyone in their family works in the political sphere.

Declare it with each column written, and on each media political panel.

Fair is fair.

Anonymous said...

The 'minister' is showing much more class than Smitherman.
Why does Smitherman where it on his sleave?If they want equality the real message should be "My work in the ministry, my abilities,or my agenda have nothing to do with what I do in the bedroom"

Joanne (True Blue) said...


But, I would put it back to the media to come out themselves, on declaring their political leanings, and whether anyone in their family works in the political sphere.


i.e. Full disclosure. I totally agree.

Gabby in QC said...

Barry LW raised an important point, the question of the privacy of public figures.

If a public figure him/herself chooses to divulge personal information, that's one thing, but other people, e.g. "journalists," outing them is quite another.

And there are definitely certain bits of information that are completely irrelevant for the public to know.
For example, in the recent controversy surrounding former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer, the new governor decided to disclose the fact that both he and his wife had had extra-marital affairs.
Why would this be important for New Yorkers to know?
I assume the only reason is that the new governor, Patterson, decided to preempt the possible attacks from certain elements of the chattering classes who may have been digging for "dirt" in order to discredit him.

As Simeon said, "Keep politics out of the bed room and vice versa."
The first part is often brought up, but the second part, i.e. keeping the bedroom out of the public eye, is often forgotten.

Roy Eappen said...

So a Cabinet nister is Gay. So what?? Many gay people lead quiet dignified lives. This puts the lie to the opposition blather. People should have the right to have private personal lives.

Anonymous said...

What this really proves and the media are too biased to admit it, but all the time the false accusations of homophobia were being pushed, Harper and his minister did not get into the silly game. The supposedly unnamed minister 'shared' class with the PM.
Is this reporter really surprised about this? I knew during the election.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Anon at Sat Apr 12, 10:13:00 AM EDT - that was an excellent observation all around.

I bet at least half the country already knows it and likely the people in his riding know it for sure, and are obviously fine with it.

His constituents are really the only ones that matter.

As for the press, I think they're the real pot-stirrers. They each want to be the first one to 'scoop' a story that is a non-issue.

I also resent Maher's putting this present Cabinet minister in the same league as the one who allegedly cheated on his wife. That is a whole different kettle of fish as far as I'm concerned.

Greg said...

Your last comment is bang on Joanne. The behaviour of the cheater is a factor in his character, which is something his constituents should know about. Does anyone believe that a conservative wouldn't be outed if he was cheating? This comparison I think also shows something about the reporters character.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Does anyone believe that a conservative wouldn't be outed if he was cheating?

Exactly. And it doesn't matter if the person he or she was cheating with was the same sex or not. It's an act of deception and shows a lack of character and control. In private life, it's nobody's business but in public life it matters because it speaks to their character.

If the the person that they had the affair with is a teenager, then that's even worse.

Eric said...

I'm not sure you can technically call the minister in question "closeted" - he is apparently out to friends & family (including the PM) and it's no secret in the gay community that he is a homosexual. Because he has not publicly declared his sexuality does not mean he's "in the closet".

Speaking from personal experience, coming out is an intensely personal decision, probably the most significant decision of a gay person's life, and it must be done on their terms at a time of their choosing. No one has the right to "out" anyone without their permission.

Because the minister chooses not to make his private life public does not make him a hypocrite.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Thanks, Eric. I really appreciate your perspective on this.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

I think I just want to take this opportunity to say that if the Minister in question did decide to 'come out', this particular Social Conservative would have no problem with it at all.

Politically, I think it would be great for the Conservative party.

But that is up to him to decide. I'm sure he has his reasons to continue to attempt to keep this quiet.

frmgrl said...

It doesn't matter to me nor do I think it matters to the general public if a certain Cabinet minister is gay or straight. What matters is that the Minister is doing a good job in their department by making sure we are getting value for our tax dollars and that he is actually getting the job done.

I agree that a politician that cheats on their partner is another story. It Does speak to character.

As to the press, I am getting so sick and tired of all their smear jobs. I will say what I have said before, it just shows desperation on their part because they see more and more everyday that their party regaining power in the near future is slipping away. They know that this current government is doing a good job and don't want to admit it. So what do they do? They try and help their master out by digging up non scandals. It's childish and petty. It's jealousy. Their party didn't get the job done.

Eric said...

I agree, Joanne, that most Conservatives wouldn't care if he came out or not, and it would be a good thing for the CPC if he did choose to do so. However, like you said, he has his reasons.

I'm just guessing here, but one of the reasons he may have for not making his sexuality public is that he risks becoming the "poster boy" for gay issues in the CPC (much like Scott Brison now is for the Liberals). This minister is ambitious, has a powerful cabinet post and lots of influence in Ottawa - why risk being defined by this one issue? He has bigger fish to fry.

Kingston said...

Interesting post Joanne, and since it seems that Chronicle would suggest we all out ourselves, I will to. I am heterosexual. Now after saying that, I do not care what other people do between the sheets to float their boats, it is now of my business now and it will not be any of my business ever.

So long as it is between consenting people above or within the legal age limits and laws, it is not anyone business and that goes for spouse swapping, swinging, or peanut butter eating. LOL.

I have and hopefully always will judge a person on their personal character and their ability to perform their jobs and their contribution to society as a whole.(and who they cheer for in the NHL sorry even I cannot be perfect and will always consider Senator fans as slightly below average human intelligence).

Just as a small quick story as a warning to all, I know a fellow who was rapid against gays, was totally un-accepting of their lifestyle and considered it a unmoral lifestyle choice, right up until the apple of his eye, his son came out. Life has this funny way of biting you in the ass sometimes. Happy ending on that one by the way as he came around and well not totally thrilled with it, is at least accepting it.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

one of the reasons he may have for not making his sexuality public is that he risks becoming the "poster boy" for gay issues in the CPC (much like Scott Brison now is for the Liberals)

Good point, Eric. And then there would be great pressure for him to attend something like a pride parade and he would be demonized if he wished to decline.

Very insightful.

Neo Conservative said...

*
what incredible hypocrisy.

let's see this dumbstick do an article on the former federal fiberal cabinet minister who's been using his wife as a beard all these years... while running around with his much younger boy-toys.

low key gay conservative = big news

gay fiberal adulterer = shssssh!

funny how that works.

*

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Happy ending on that one by the way as he came around and well not totally thrilled with it, is at least accepting it.

That's right. Once you find out a relative is gay, it does seem to change your perspective. You stop judging in terms of "them" and "us" and start looking at the individual. And with that comes some compassion (hopefully).

jad said...

"I also resent Maher's putting this present Cabinet minister in the same league as the one who allegedly cheated on his wife. That is a whole different kettle of fish as far as I'm concerned."

If I'm not mistaken, this was a former Liberal cabinet minister under Chretien and Martin, who held two of the most senior positions in cabinet.

He "allegedly cheated" on his wife with an under-age male prostitute over a long period of time, as described by several gay magazines. I do not see where this equates at all to anyone who is gay and simply wants to remain quiet about it, and I would certainly argue the public's right to know these kind of details about someone who is representing Canada in international settings.

As far as the Conservative cabinet minister is concerned, I think the media is less concerned with protecting his "privacy" than they are with not demonstrating that the CPC actually is an inclusive organization.

Since his privacy obviously is important to the minister, Maher's article is simply a cheap smear to try to embarrass him without actually being brave enough to do it openly.

OT, why, why, why does Maher get so much space on National Newswatch. He seems to be there every day in the comments and sometimes his comments are shown in what passes for the hard news section ??? None of the other aggregators ever seem to pick him up.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Neo, I think Maher did mention that person:

...Similarly, reporters in the gallery never reported on a married Liberal cabinet minister who had a much younger same-sex lover...

Sure didn't dwell on it much though.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

OT, why, why, why does Maher get so much space on National Newswatch.

Good question. You may want to direct it to: news@nationalnewswatch.com


However, I don't mind knowing what kind of gossip is being spoon-fed to the folks out East. It helps to explain the strong Liberal hold out there.

maryT said...

If the minister is doing his job well, would he preform any better if he went public. If he is not stealing our money, giving breaks to friends, leaking info, who cares. How many of the media are gay, how many lead secret lives, how many use drugs, shouldn't we have the right to know. Should we go after every reporter and tell all their secrets. Listen to them cry if we did.

Blue Magic said...

This artcle has a tone of trying to shame the Conservative in question, to come out.

And tell what does ones sexual orientation have to do with the handling of government buisness?

I just don't understand why this matters.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

The more I think about it, the angrier I become with that reporter. Just imagine how the Cabinet minister himself feels!

Joanne (True Blue) said...

When you think about it, Stephen Maher is guilty of the very act he accuses the Conservatives of: stereotyping.

He reduces this Minister's accomplishments to a story about whether or not he has the 'guts' to come out. It is disgustingly hypocritical.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

To the anonymous poster who just left a comment. That was disgusting. I'm glad I had Comment Moderation on.

Anonymous said...

Remember Duffy's comments last week re: the ministers on the Hill still 'in the closet' implying it was due to CPC having 'knuckledraggers' for MP's?
Doesn't this just have the opposite message still with an attempt to make Harper look like the bad guy?
Spin, spin, spin

Will the gays get tired of being used for political fodder? I hope so.

Libs message: vote for us 'cuz we accept gays and CPC doesn't.

CPC message: we don't care what they claim for sexual orientation, just let them represent their constituents.

Media message:CPC are homophobic
(whatever that is supposed to mean)


Glad to see so many gays speaking up about this, such as todays comment , and several commenters last week on the CTV.ca site.

bluetech

wilson said...

The Minister is not in the closet, he is living the life gays want;
respect and their sexual orientation as a non-issue.

When reporters write on his work, there isn't a 'comma Cons only openly gay Minister'.
He doesn't end up on a list used by the gay community.
He isn't used to make a cheap political point that the Cons aren't homophobes.
Newman and Duffy don't bat his name around with the press gallery.

I remember Brison, when he went Liberal, saying he didn't want to be the Cons gay poster boy.
So who do the Libs trot out over the 'party tape'....Scott Brison, the Liberals gay poster boy.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Joanne (True Blue) said...

I was hesitant about letting through that last comment, but I agree with the spirit of it...

hunter said...

That comment is fine Joanne.

Funny how the ones who are supposed to be "progressive" are the ones who are the most intolerant. It's clearly bugging this writer that Conservatives don't care about sexual orientation, does he think us "knuckle dragging" Conservatives would care?

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Hunter, I took Anon @ 02:54:00's comment to mean that he/she found the reporter's fixation on sexual orientation quite petty, but it wasn't the most eloquent wording I've ever read, and therefore somewhat difficult to interpret.

Anonymous said...

It's just funny how the left screams about how everyone's the same and that sexual orientation doesn't matter.

Then they turn around and talk about gay MPs and use it as proof. Of what, I don't know. I suppose it depends on which party the homosexual member belongs to. (So I guess if it's a Lib MP, it shows that the LPC is tolerant. If it's a CPC MP, they must have something to hide.)

I tend to agree, though, that it doesn't matter. Can the member do the job properly? If so, then lay off it.

Johann

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Johann, well said.

Memo to Mike Duffy - Lay off the "six gay MPs in the closet" meme. It's getting boring.

Anonymous said...

Joanne, I couldn't agree more about Duffy. The first time I heard him bring up that most odd non sequitur, I sat there wondering what that had to do with anything.

Hey Duffy, a newsflash for you: I hear that a large number of MPs like peanut butter. Isn't that interesting?

It's certainly as pertinent as the MPs' sexual orientation...

Johann

Joe said...

True story.

I come from a very large family that likes to have re-unions every 5 years. For several of these gatherings one cousin was absent and of couse family being family the the missing cousin's sexuallity became the topic of conversation. One uncle mused that the boy was "a little light in the loafers" and many of the more liberal family members joined a vocal cousin who tut tutted about the intolerance being shown.

At the next re-union the "gay" cousin showed up with his "good friend". The only people who spoke with him were the conservative Christians in the family who accepted the cousin and his "good friend" and engaged them in normal conversation. The more liberal amongst us and especially the tut tutter avoided the two men like the plague not even letting her children talk to the couple.

As in so many things I find liberals all talk and no action.

Cool Blue said...

"If I'm not mistaken, this was a former Liberal cabinet minister under Chretien and Martin, who held two of the most senior positions in cabinet."

Not just a cabinet minister remember.

For a while he was also the Liberal leader and Leader of the Opposition.

Imagine what would happen if there was a story of Harper cheating on his wife with a teenage male prostitute...

Yet, when the story involves a Liberal? Silence.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Thanks for that, Joe. I always appreciate real-life stories.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Yet, when the story involves a Liberal? Silence.

And yet obviously everyone knows.

Are we at the point where we would accept marital infidelity from our MPs? It's a tough question. I guess it would depend on the circumstances (children, etc.)

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Sorry Anon. Your comment had to be deleted. Steve Maher was not happy.

paulsstuff said...

"Are we at the point where we would accept marital infidelity from our MPs? It's a tough question. I guess it would depend on the circumstances (children, etc.)"

We'll find out in the next election Joanne, when the voters in my riding find out their Liberal MP cheated on his wife and the mother of their three kids with a college student. Kudos to the Liberal riding association members who all resigned when he was outed.

p.s. I e-mailed you about a month ago and gave you the name.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Paul, I remember, and I know exactly who you are talking about. Didn't want to divulge any confidences but thank you for mentioning it.

There are some sad skeletons in the Liberal closet that are soon to be swept out!

Kingston said...

Well I guess I might face the wrath of some, but I still do not think the infidelity of a MP is any of our business, that is between the member and his spouse. The situation is to personal for it to be dragged through the public especially if there are children involved.

Just early in this post we were saying who cares about what they are doing between the sheets, so long as they are doing their job, same rule applies as far as I am concerned.

Fay said...

You have the best titles Joanne. Don't get me started on the media, not a very respectable profession to be in, too bad really but they made their own bed. It is amazing the conservatives are doing as well as they are considering the tarring and feathering by the MSM. Fortunately most Canadians have caught onto the spin except for Ontario.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

You have the best titles Joanne.

Thanks, Fay. I appreciate that. I do put some effort into trying to think of something catchy.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Just early in this post we were saying who cares about what they are doing between the sheets, so long as they are doing their job, same rule applies as far as I am concerned.

Well, that is a tricky one for sure. If an MP deceives his wife, you are o.k. with that? If he lies, and cheats, you are o.k. with that?

What if he steals? Oh yeah. That's o.k. too. I remember.

Kingston said...

Joanne, What I am saying is it is a personal matter and it between the MP and their spouse and it is none of my business the same as someone sexual orientation is none of my business. The last time I checked infidelity is not a criminal offense nor is breaking your wedding vows, whereas stealing is, so yes I would have a problem with a MP stealing.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Well, o.k. Kingston. That is your opinion, and I respect it.

I'm just trying to imagine what would happen if say, Stephen Harper was caught cheating on his wife (hypothetically speaking of course).

Do you think Canadians (and the media) would easily overlook it?

Kingston said...

Joanne, I have no idea what the media would do, although I do have my suspicions, but I feel it should have no place in the public sphere. Actually, The one last difference between our politics and media and those in the U.S. is the media "tends" to avoid dragging personal lives into the spot light and affords them some privacy at least in that respect.
As evidence of that I present the origins of this post where the member in question has not been outed by the press, I think he would be if he was a senior senator or a appointed Secretary in the govt of our friends to the south.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Well, I'll give you that one Kingston. It would definitely be a spectacle in the excited States. ;)

Turning in now. Thanks for the debate.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

whereas stealing is, so yes I would have a problem with a MP stealing.

And yet, even that would seem to be easily forgiven in our modern progressive thinking.

Gabby in QC said...

Re: members of the media like Stephen Maher or Mike Duffy hinting some MPs are gay.

A question often occurs to me whenever I hear or read the kind of gossip and accusations levelled at politicians: how would members of the MSM like to have personal details about THEM put out in the public place?

What do we know, for instance, about Stephen Maher's or Mike Duffy's personal lives? Do we know their home address, so that paparazzi, or indignant readers for that matter, could park themselves in front of their house to spy on their every move or to protest?

Are there people looking through their garbage to see what dirt can be dug up about them, about their romantic entanglements? Do we know whether Stephen Maher is gay or not, and should it even matter?

Are there people digging through archives to see what idiocies they uttered when they were first starting out?

Do any of these vultures care what effect they have on the families of politicians?

Some members of the MSM apparently get their jollies by seeing a politician squirm and label that "the public's right to know."

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Actually, Steve Maher already contacted me about a comment posted here and I felt I had to remove it.

You raise some good questions, Gabby. I'm not sure if he is going to object to them. I guess I'll find out soon enough.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

And Steve, if you're reading this, please feel free to leave a comment.

Kingston said...

Gabby, excellent post, you raise a great question, do we have the right to know what floats their boats, if they have strayed from their matrimonial beds.

Right now I say no, but if they start to out people, then I say you darn right we do, because if they say we do because it is a question of the character of the people who lead us, while it is also a question of character of those who report the events of our time and to me that would include coming clean on political party affiliation.

Gabby in QC said...

"Steve Maher already contacted me about a comment posted here and I felt I had to remove it."

Just so I understand: did you have to remove the Maher comment or a comment posted by someone else? Like this one:
"To the anonymous poster who just left a comment. That was disgusting. I'm glad I had Comment Moderation on.

Sat Apr 12, 01:22:00 PM EDT"

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Gabby, he was upset about the comment at Sat Apr 12, 02:54:00 PM EDT, and after some reflection, I agreed that it was in bad taste.

Anonymous said...

Joanne, if you found the comment you deleted offensive, that is one thing; it is your blog, and your rules should apply.

However, why would Stephen Maher object to a comment posted here? Maybe he was trying to help you avoid some unwarranted accusations?

Anyway, in rereading his column, as well as the comments there, I really fail to see the relevance of his column.
During a talk show a few weeks ago, the host, who used to work in Ottawa and who has been working here now for over 3 years, mentioned that the minister in question is gay, so it appears to be a well-known fact.
So ... let's move along, nothing to gawk at here.

I can only hope that maybe one day journalists will be exposed to the same scrutiny.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

However, why would Stephen Maher object to a comment posted here?

He seemed to feel it was a personal attack. He called it an "obscene posting" to use his words.

To be honest, I've had much worse said about me on other blogs. You get used to it. I was quite surprised that he'd take offense so easily. I've chatted with other reporters and pundits and they get called all sorts of nasty names. It goes with the territory.

Anonymous said...

The Tommy Douglas party has turned into the party of bigots:

Mr. Comartin helped to start a faith and social justice committee in his party, partly because he said there was an "intellectual arrogance" within the party which demeaned people because they practised religion.

"It's ironic for the NDP to be in that position because the CCF was almost exclusively founded by people who came out of the social gospel at that time, but it changed over the years and it was time for us to be able to say, 'I want to be able to feel comfortable in this party if I'm of a practising faith, I don't want that demeaned.' It was important to get it started for that reason, and I think it's had a more positive effect," Mr. Comartin said, adding there was no "conflict of politics and religion" because the group focuses on social issues rather than religious issues. "What we're really saying is our faith informs us on those issues and we conduct ourselves accordingly."


Imagine if the conservatives had to form a group to like that to address arrogance. The press gallery would have a field day.

Translation: Many NDP MPs are anti-religious bigots and we have to form a group to tell them to keep those ideas to themselves.