Another One Bites the Proverbial Dust
In light of today’s … um … interesting news (Email rendezvous entangles state Rep. Phillip Hinkle) about Indiana State Rep. Phil Hinkle (R-Indianapolis) allegedly seeking out a male prostitute on craigslist, taking the prostitute to a hotel, trying to prevent the prostitute from leaving, and then trying to bribe the prostitute to not tell the police, I thought it worth re-posting this video from a candidate forum in October 2010 (additional videos and information about the forum can be found in my post When Politicians Are Forced to Answer Yes/No Questions). Rep. Hinkle is the 7th candidate to answer (gray hair and red tie):
I also want to be very clear about two other things: I like Rep. Hinkle and I feel bad for him and his family. I’ve had numerous discussions with Rep. Hinkle on a host of political issues (though never on the issue of civil unions or same-sex marriage) and, though we usually disagree (often quite strongly), I’ve always found him to be one of the legislators most willing to engage in a good, open, honest debate. Never in our discussions did words get heated, even when passions ran high. He commended me and the organization on which I was usually speaking for our civility and I commended him on always being available and willing to participate in the discussion and dialogue.
But I should also point out that Rep. Hinkle is not only opposed to civil unions; he also voted in favor of the proposed amendment to the Indiana constitution that would ban not only same-sex marriage but also civil unions and limit the right of future Indiana General Assemblies to create civil unions or something substantialy similar to marriage for same-sex couples.
I’d also like to go back to the discussion that arose with regard to the “sex scandal” of Rep. Anthony Weiner (you know, the scandal involving pictures but no sex and no illegal conduct) that I discussed in my post Anthony Weiner Is a Lying Ass — So?. Recall how fast calls came in — especially from Republicans — that Rep. Weiner resign. In my post, I noted the hypocrisy of calling for Rep. Weiner’s resignation while not calling for the resignation of Sen. Vitter (who was the client of a prostitute). It will be interesting to watch whether and how quickly Indiana Republicans demand that Rep. Hinkle resigns, especially given that: (a) like Rep. Weiner, apparently there wasn’t any actual sex, though the two men were together and one was naked; and (b) like Sen. Vitter, the act of trading money (or goods) for sex acts is a crime.
So what have some top Indiana Republicans had to say so far?
According to The Indianapolis Star, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (R) said:
Gov. Mitch Daniels this morning called the email rendezvous scandal involving State Rep. Phil Hinkle a “family tragedy.”
But he said that whether Hinkle should resign the legislative seat he has held since 2000 is up to him and his constituents.
“It’s not for me to say. It’s for him and his constituents. It’s just a personal family tragedy,” Daniels said, adding that he was “sad about it.”
Hmm. Well what about Speaker Brian Bosma (R-Indianapolis)? Again, according to The Indianapolis Star:
Bosma, in a statement, said that “If the circumstances are as reported, it is an extremely sad and disappointing situation for all of us, especially the families involved. Our next step will be to try to discuss this matter with Representative Hinkle and chart a course from there.”
Um. Those don’t really sound like demands for Rep. Hinkle to resign. Nor do they even sound like condemnation of what appears to be clearly illegal conduct. Since when is soliciting, picking up, getting a hotel room for, getting naked in front of, and then refusing to allow a prostitute to leave, merely a “family tragedy” (query which family Gov. Daniels was talking about) or a “sad and disappointing situation”?
However, in all fairness, I should note that late this afternoon The Indianapolis Star was also reporting:
Marion County GOP Chairman Kyle Walker said he would “strongly recommend that Representative Hinkle resign his position so that he can focus on his family and not have this situation detract from that or the work that needs to continue in his legislative district.”
And Indiana Republican Party Chairman Eric Holcomb said Hinkle needs to “do the right thing.”
Asked if that meant the six-term lawmaker should resign, Holcomb said that he “would word it differently.”
You know what, though? I’d like to see Rep. Hinkle stay in the Indiana General Assembly. I’d like to see him return to the Statehouse in January and, when the issue of the proposed constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage is brought to the floor, I’d like to see him stand up and talk about living in the closet and then talk about the rights of gay Hoosiers, talk about why it is important that our laws show respect for all Hoosiers, no matter their sexual orientation or gender identity, and then explain why enshrining discrimination into the Constitution is a bad idea. I’d like to see him vote against that proposed Amendment. He should do the right thing by those Hoosiers that his previous votes have hurt. And then he should resign (and note: My call for his resignation has nothing to do with his having an affair, whether straight or gay; my call for his resignation is strictly on the basis of the fact that prostitution is a crime [though whether it should be is a good topic for another post…]).
And for the record, should he ever wish to do so, I remain willing to engage Rep. Hinkle in dialogue and discussion on whatever issues should be of interest.