Capitol Hill Insiders Irked By Campaign To 'Out' Them
By Rebecca Dana and Jose Antonio Vargas
Washington Post Staff Writers
The phone kept ringing in one Capitol Hill office -- hourly, daily, all leading up to yesterday's Senate vote on the constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. Mike Rogers was on the line again. He knew something very personal about the press secretary of a Republican House member who supports the amendment, and he wanted to tell someone, preferably someone high-ranking, that the man is gay. Rogers cannot understand this. How can someone help articulate the opposition to homosexual unions when he himself is homosexual?
Rogers, a 40-year-old Washington fundraising consultant, has waged a controversial "outing" campaign in the month leading up to yesterday's vote. He sent out more 10,000 e-mails encouraging and perpetrating outings. He handed out fliers at the gay pride parade in June, asking people to send in names of gay Hill staffers working for senators and representatives who supported the Federal Marriage Amendment. He created a Web log last week listing some of those names.
He made phone calls, day and night, to the offices and homes of these staffers. His message: How dare you?
Rogers's campaign has caused a stir throughout the capital, rallying some gay-rights advocates and horrifying others, for demanding that people who are gay and Republican to defend themselves. Rogers says he plans to continue his campaign despite yesterday's vote -- the amendment was defeated 50-48 but probably will be taken up by the House this fall -- and he will tack on a "fidelity pledge" to expose members of Congress who promote "family values" but have extramarital affairs.