The gay community in the US faces mixed blessings following this week’s midterm elections, which saw seven more states poised to ban same-sex marriage, one state likely to try legalising it, and the Democrats take control of both the House of Representatives and the senate.
Eight states -“ Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia and Wisconsin -“ asked voters whether the state constitution should be amended to ban gay marriage.
At the time of press all of them, with the exception of Arizona, looked certain to go ahead with the ban, The Advocate reported.
But gay couples in New York may soon be allowed to walk down the aisle. Democrat Eliot Spitzer, who was yesterday elected governor of New York in a landslide win, pledged during his election campaign to introduce gay marriage legislation to the state legislature.
Democrat New York senator, Hillary Clinton, who retained her seat in the election, last week said she would not oppose gay marriage if Spitzer introduced it.
In one of the biggest controversies of the week a staunch campaigner against gay marriage, the Reverend Ted Haggard, a senior evangelical leader with close ties to the White House, admitted to sexual immorality and being a liar after he was accused of having sex with a male prostitute.
His confession on Sunday came a day after Haggard was forced from his position as senior pastor at the New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado, which had conducted an internal investigation into claims made by former prostitute Mike Jones.
Jones alleged Haggard paid him for sex numerous times over a three-year period and had also taken the drug methamphetamine. He said he decided to go public because of Haggard’s support of the amendment to ban gay marriage in Colorado.
It made me angry that here’s someone preaching about gay marriage and going behind the scenes having gay sex, Jones, who said he was no longer a prostitute, told Denver’s KUSA-TV.
Haggard, who is married with five children, rigorously denied the claims until this week.
I am so sorry for the circumstances that have caused shame and embarrassment for all of you, he said in a written statement to his church.
The fact is I am guilty of sexual immorality. And I take responsibility for the entire problem. I am a deceiver and a liar. There’s a part of my life that is so repulsive and dark that I have been warring against it for all of my adult life.
Haggard is also leader of the National Association of Evangelicals and held regular conference calls with White House staffers and other religious leaders, according to CNN.
The National Association of Evangelicals represents more than 45,000 churches and around 30 million members around the US.
Apart from the Haggard scandal Republicans also had to deal with the recent Mark Foley affair.
In October Foley came out as gay and resigned from the House of Representatives when it emerged he had sent sexually explicit emails to young male White House assistants.
In other election news, openly gay Democrat members of the House, Barney Frank of Massachusetts and Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, both retained their seats, 365gay.com reported.
In Pennsylvania, Republican senator Rick Santorum, who had been an outspoken anti-gay campaigner, lost his seat to Democrat Bob Casey.