social sciences
special features
about glbtq

Advertising Opportunities
Press Kit
Research Guide
Terms of Service
Privacy Policy
site guide
search tips
research guide
editors & contributors
contact us
send feedback
write the editor
Subscribe to our free e-mail newsletter to receive a spotlight on glbtq culture every month.
e-mail address:
Popular Topics in Literature
García Lorca, Federico García Lorca, Federico
The works of García Lorca, internationally recognized as Spain's most prominent lyric poet and dramatist of the twentieth century, are filled with thinly veiled homosexual motifs and themes.
Musical Theater
There has always been homosexual involvement in American musical theatre and a homosexual sensibility even in straight musicals, and recently the Broadway musical has welcomed openly homosexual themes and situations.
Michelangelo Buonarroti Michelangelo Buonarroti
Best known for his genius in art and architecture, Michelangelo was also an accomplished author of homoerotic poetry.
African-American Literature: Gay Male African-American Literature: Gay Male
The African-American gay male literary tradition consists of a substantial body of texts and includes some of the most gifted writers of the twentieth century.
Camp Camp
Combining elements of incongruity, theatricality, and exaggeration, camp is a form of humor that helps homosexuals cope with a hostile environment.
Hughes, Langston Hughes, Langston
Langston Hughes, whose literary legacy is enormous and varied, was closeted, but homosexuality was an important influence on his literary imagination, and many of his poems may be read as gay texts.
Baldwin, James Arthur Baldwin, James Arthur
James Baldwin, a pioneering figure in twentieth-century literature, wrote sustained and articulate challenges to American racism and mandatory heterosexuality.
Wilde, Oscar Wilde, Oscar
Oscar Wilde is important both as an accomplished writer and as a symbolic figure who exemplified a way of being homosexual at a pivotal moment in the emergence of gay consciousness.
Topics In the News
Hypocrisy, Karma, and Ingratitude: Former Congressman Jim Kolbe and DOMA
Posted by: Claude J. Summers on 10/25/12
Last updated on: 10/26/12
Bookmark and Share

Jim Kolbe.

Former U.S. Representative Jim Kolbe was forced out of the closet after hypocritically casting a vote in favor of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in 1996. After being outed his voting record on glbtq issues substantially improved. However, in the wake of his recent engineering of the Log Cabin Republicans' endorsement of Mitt Romney, we learned not only how he has been personally affected by the discriminatory law he supported, but also how he continues to display both hypocrisy and ingratitude.

Kolbe was elected to Congress in 1985, representing Arizona's newly created 5th District, which includes Tucson. He served as U.S. Representative until 2006, when Gabrielle Giffords succeeded him in the position.

In Congress, he was best known for his interest in trade issues, especially as a champion of the North American Free Trade Act, globalization, and immigration, interests that he has continued to pursue since leaving Congress.

For many years while he served in Congress, his homosexuality was an open secret, one that was kept by both the mainstream media and the alternate media as well. Outing was generally considered inappropriate by the gay press, and respectable newspapers did not report on the homosexuality of public figures unless they were charged with a crime or volunteered the information.

However, in the advent of the AIDS epidemic many activists came to believe that closeted politicians and other figures who worked against equal rights needed to be exposed as hypocrites and traitors. Journalists and activists such as Michael Petrelis, Mike Rogers, Kurt Wolfe, and Michelangelo Signorile, among others, defended the ethics of outing in such circumstances.

Hence it was that when Kolbe cast his vote in favor of DOMA, he became a target of activists. Wolfe, for example, discussed Kolbe's sexual orientation on WBAI radio in New York and on Boston's cable television program Out in New England.

Within days of the vote on DOMA, activists launched a blistering campaign on the Internet to compel Kolbe to disclose that he himself was gay. They sent e-mail messages to journalists and others pointing out Kolbe's hypocrisy.

They soon took out a full-page ad in the Washington Blade, calling on "all closeted gay and lesbian members of Congress" to "end your silence and defend your community."

Faced with this pressure, and apparently believing that The Advocate was planning a story in which he would be outed, Kolbe finally issued a statement acknowledging his homosexuality.

"That I am a gay person has never affected the way that I legislate," he said. "The fact that I am gay has never, nor will it ever, change my commitment to represent all the people of Arizona's Fifth District."

He thus became the second Republican member of Congress to come out, following Representative Steve Gunderson of Wisconsin, who was outed in 1994 on the floor of the House of Representatives by homophobic Representative Robert Dornan of California.

Gunderson was the sole Republican member of the House of Representatives to vote against DOMA. The two openly gay Democratic members of the House then, Representative Gerry Studds and Barney Frank, also voted against the discriminatory measure.

Kolbe explained his vote in favor of DOMA as follows: "If the citizens of Hawaii believe it to be in their public interest to permit same-sex marriages, they should be permitted to do so. By the same token, other states--as Arizona has done--should be allowed to define marriage differently and not be required to accept the definition adopted by others."

Of course, he failed to acknowledge that what DOMA also does is to forbid the federal government from recognizing legal same-sex marriages in the states that choose to permit them. He also seemed unaware then that another consequence of DOMA is that the federal government will not recognize gay or lesbian relationships for immigration purposes.

Kolbe weathered the storm caused by his outing, and his voting record in Congress on gay issues dramatically improved, although for many years he said he preferred civil unions over same-sex marriage.

In 2010, in a gesture of bipartisanship, President Obama appointed Kolbe to a presidential advisory committee on trade relations.

Karma is a bitch. That truism became obvious as news reports circulated this week about Kolbe's role in engineering the Log Cabin Republicans' endorsement of Mitt Romney.

According to Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade, Kolbe, a trustee of the Log Cabin Republicans, was among the small group who attended a secret meeting with Romney on October 17, 2012 at Greenwood Farm in Leesburg, Virginia.

At the meeting, Kolbe, who has been for several years in a relationship with a Panamanian national, Hector Alfonso, reportedly whined to Romney about the feared deportation of his partner as a result of DOMA. Romney allegedly nodded but offered no response.

Not only is Karma a bitch insofar as DOMA has come to affect one of its proponents quite personally, but this scenario is both richly ironic and viscerally repulsive. Kolbe's kowtowing to Romney, who has vowed to defend DOMA, is pathetic and undignified.

Worse than that, Kolbe's support for Romney illustrates a failure of character. More specifically, it exposes his failure to acknowledge the debt he owes to the President of the United States. Alfonso is likely allowed to remain in this country only because of President Obama's direction to the immigration service not to enforce deportation orders against the foreign-born partners of gay and lesbian citizens. For partisan purposes, Kolbe is happy to stab in the back the very person who has acted to keep his partner in the country.

Kolbe is not only a hypocrite, but also an ungrateful bastard.

If Kolbe gets his wish that Romney is elected President, he will undoubtedly, as a well-connected man of wealth and privilege, be able to finagle and abuse the system so that his partner will continue to get work visas or otherwise be allowed to stay in the country.

Other foreign-born partners of gay and lesbian citizens will not be so lucky.

Related Encyclopedia Entries
browse:   arts   literature   social-sciences   discussion boards
learn more about glbtq       contact us       advertise on glbtq.com
Bookmark and Share

glbtq™ and its logo are trademarks of glbtq, Inc.
This site and its contents Copyright © 2002-2015, glbtq, Inc.

Your use of this site indicates that you accept its Terms of Service.