We have yet another case of someone acting against the interests of a group they belong to.
Former Republican member of Congress Aaron Schock came out as gay on Thursday in a long statement posted to Instagram and his personal website.
Schock spoke about his years of struggling with his sexuality and estrangement from his conservative family, and added that if he were in Congress now, he would “would support LGBTQ rights in every way [he] could.”
During his six years in Congress representing Illinois, Schock consistently voted against policies supported by the LGBTQ community, including the 2010 repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” which allowed gay and bisexual people to openly serve in the military, and the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act.
It had been widely speculated that he was gay at the time he was a congressperson but we should not be too quick to judge and condemn Schock as yet another right-wing hypocrite. When he says that he was “struggling with his sexuality”, it is not clear whether his votes against providing justice to the LGBT+ community occurred during the time when he was in denial about his own sexual orientation and was trying to convince himself that he was not gay by going to the other extreme of overt homophobia. That condition is not that uncommon and reflects the sad fact that homosexuality still carries with it a stigma in many quarters.
But if he was cynically throwing the LGBT+ community under the bus and using those votes as a cover to hide his identity for the sake of advancing within the homophobic Republican party, then he deserves all the opprobrium he gets.