Pastor Matthew Makela is the latest prominent antigay leader to get caught trolling for guys, but there were many like him who also fell face first out of the closet.
Not every antigay crackpot is actually gay, but there’s no shortage of those who actually are. Here are some hypocrites who just couldn’t practice what they preached.
This antigay activist and cofounder of the Family Research Council shocked the world in 2010 when he was caught returning from a European vacation with a male escort he found on Rentboy.com. He initially claimed he hired the man to carry his luggage because he had just had surgery and wasn’t able to lift anything. Rekers also tried to explain himself with a Facebook post: “I deliberately spend time with sinners with the loving goal to try to help them.”
Rumors of Alabama Attorney General Troy King engaging in an affair with a younger male assistant (a former Troy University homecoming king) circled the Internet in 2008. King, who promoted bans on homosexuality and sex toys, was reportedly found in bed with the young man by King’s wife. When seeking a second term as attorney general in 2010, King lost the Republican primary to Luther Strange. King, who did not publicly address the rumors, now practices law in Montgomery, Ala.
Conservative Washington State Rep. Richard Curtis, who had voted against a domestic partnership bill and a bill that would have outlawed discrimination based on sexual orientation, was accused of soliciting sex from another man in 2007. After the news broke, Curtis resigned from his seat and was quoted as saying, “This has been damaging to my family, and I don’t want to subject them to any additional pain that might result from carrying out this matter under the scrutiny that comes with holding public office.” He claimed he wasn’t gay and accused the man, a paid escort, of extortion, but later told prosecutors he wanted the changes dropped.
Glenn Murphy Jr.
This antigay advocate and former president of the Young Republican National Federation was sentenced to six years in prison after he was found guilty of sexual assault for performing oral sex on an unwilling male after a 2007 private party for Republican supporters in Indiana. Another man had accused Murphy of sexual assault in 1998, but no charges were filed. Murphy is now a registered sex offender.
Long-serving California Republican Congressman David Dreier supported the Defense of Marriage Act and voted against the federal hate-crimes bill named for Matthew Shepard as well as the proposed Employment Non-Discrimination Act. Well, wouldn’t you know, Dreier shared homes with his former chief of staff Brad Smith, who was identified by acquaintances as Dreier’s partner. Blogactive‘s Mike Rogers broke the story in 2004. Dreier neither confirmed or denied being gay, and he kept his seat for about another decade. He now works for a think tank and has been urged by some to run for U.S. Senate.
An antigay county commissioner in Cumberland County, Pa., Barclay resigned from his position in 2008 after being caught hiring male prostitutes and using hidden cameras to videotape at least 100 of these sexual encounters at his home. Saying he spent up to $1,500 for each assignation, Barclay admitted he demonstrated a lapse in judgment. In 2010 he was sentenced to probation, monitoring, and community service.
California state Sen. Roy Ashburn came out in 2010 after reports surfaced of him being arrested for drunk driving after partying at a gay nightclub in Sacramento. In an interview with Bakersfield radio station KERN, Ashburn said, “I am gay. Those are the words that have been so difficult for me for so long. But I am gay. But it is something that is personal and … I felt with my heart that being gay didn’t affect — wouldn’t affect — how I did my job.” Ashburn blamed his constituents’ wishes for his anti-LGBT voting record.
U.S. Sen. Larry Craig of Idaho was arrested in 2007 on charges of lewd behavior in an airport bathroom, for allegedly making advances to an undercover police officer. In prior years, Craig’s antigay voting record had earned him praise from conservative groups such as the American Family Association and the Family Research Council. He pleaded guilty and paid a fine, then attempted unsuccessfully to withdraw the plea, all the time saying he was not gay and had merely touched the officer accidentally. Craig This wasnot the only time Craig was alleged to have had or sought sexual relationships with men, as several told the Idaho Statesman of encounters with him. In 2014 he was ordered to pay the U.S. Treasury $242,000 for improperly using campaign funds to pay the legal expenses he racked up in his attempts to withdraw his guilty plea.
In 2004, Republican Virginia congressman Edward Schrock suddenly withdrew from his race for a third term after allegations arose that Schrock was secretly gay. Gay activist Mike Rogers’s website claimed Schrock had been recorded several years earlier using a telephone service on which men would place ads to arrange liaisons with other men. Schrock, who never confirmed the rumors, had been opposed to letting gay people serve in the military, saying enlistees should be queried on whether they’ve had homosexual experiences because “You’re in the showers with them, you’re in the bunk room with them, you’re in staterooms with them.”
Allen, at the time a Florida state representative and cochairman of Sen. John McCain’s presidential committee, was arrested in 2007 when he agreed to pay an undercover police officer $20 to allow him to perform oral sex on him (Allen claims he thought the muscular officer was trying to rob him and he offered sex out of fear). Allen, who was convicted and resigned his office, was known as one of the most homophobic politicians in Florida, having sponsored a failed bill that would have increased the penalties for committing “unnatural and lascivious acts.”
Indiana state Rep. Phillip Hinkle, who voted for an anti-marriage equality amendment to Indiana’s constitution, was caught in a sex scandal in 2011 when he answered an ad on Craigslist from an 18-year-old named Kameryn Gibson, who was looking for a “sugga daddy.” Once the two met a local hotel, the young man had a change of heart and decided against the arrangement. Once Gibson’s sister arrived to pick him up, Hinkle offered his iPad, cell phone, and $100 for the two to keep quiet. After leaving, the phone started ringing and Gibson’s sister told Hinkle’s wife that her husband was gay, to which she responded, “Please don’t call the police.” Hinkle denied being gay and refused to resign his office, but he did not seek reelection the following year.
In 2014, nearly four years after he was caught sending nude photos to men on Grindr, former Puerto Rico Sen. Roberto Arango came out as gay. In an interview on radio station Noti UNO, a reporter asked Arango, “Isn’t it time for you to state whether or not you are a homosexual?” Arango, who resigned his office amid the scandal in 2011, responded in the affirmative. In previous years Arango had mocked a San Juan mayoral candidate by implying the candidate was gay.
North Dakota state Rep. Randy Boehning, who in April had voted against a bill that would offer housing, workplace, and other protections for LGBT North Dakotans, recently came out as bisexual after it was revealed that he had sent explicit pictures to a 21-year-old man on Grindr. Boehning said he voted against the bill because he didn’t believe his constituents supported the protections. “This has been a challenge for me,” he told The Forum, a Fargo newspaper. “You don’t tell everyone you’re going to vote one way and then switch your vote another way — you don’t have any credibility that way.”
Michigan pastor Matthew Makela recently made headlines after he was caught sending sexual messages to a man on Grindr. One missive: “I love to make out naked. Oral and massage. And I top.” Makela was no friend to LGBT people, often railing against homosexuality and saying transgender people are “aiding opportunistic sickos in preying upon children and others.”
Antigay evangelical pastor Ted Haggard had a bad year in 2006, when prostitute Mike Jones claimed the pastor paid him for sex and did meth in his presence. Months later, Haggard was forced to admit he had a sexual relationship with a 20-year-old male volunteer at his church. Haggard was subsequently fired from the Colorado church he had founded in 1984 and since then has come to support marriage equality.
Republican North Carolina State Senate candidate Steve Wiles caused quite the media buzz last year when his past life as a drag queen — he was both a promoter for the Miss Gay America pageant, as well as the man behind Miss Mona Sinclair — was brought to light in the Winston-Salem Journal. In his campaign, Wiles took a hard stance against marriage equality and stated, “I don’t really understand how you can separate the fact that marriage is a religious institution.” He went down to defeat in the primary.