Spokesman for antigay senator says he's gay
July 16 2005 12:00 AM ET
A top aide to one
of the U.S. Senate's leading antigay members has told a
Washington blog that he is gay and stands by his boss,
Pennsylvania Republican Rick Santorum.
serves Santorum as the main spokesman and deputy chief of
staff for the Senate Republican Conference, which Santorum
chairs. After receiving tips from readers of his Web
log, BlogActive, Michael Rogers called Traynham and
asked him if he is "out to the senator." In a tape
Rogers provided to Advocate.com, Traynham responded, "I am."
Asked whether the senator's constituents know he's openly
gay, Traynham said, "I'm not sure that's really
In a statement
released exclusively to Advocate.com, Santorum said,
"Robert Traynham has worked for me for eight years; the last
four as a member of my leadership staff as deputy
chief of staff for the Senate Republican Conference.
He recently returned to my personal office and is now
communications director for me. He is widely respected and
admired on Capitol Hill, both among the press corps
and among the congressional staff, as a communications
professional. Not only is Mr. Traynham an exemplary
staffer, but he is also a trusted friend and confidant to me
and my family. Mr. Traynham is a valued member of my staff,
and I regret that this effort on behalf of people who
oppose me has made him a target of bigotry in their
added, "It is entirely unacceptable that my staff’s
personal lives are considered fair game by partisans looking
for arguments to bolster my opponent's campaign. Mr.
Traynham continues to have my full support and
confidence as well as my prayers as he navigates this
rude and mean-spirited invasion of his personal life.
Santorum was a
leading sponsor of the Federal Marriage Amendment,
restricting marriage to straight couples. In 2003,
criticizing the Supreme Court ruling that struck down
Texas's sodomy law, he said the decision would open
the door to incest, adultery, polygamy, and bigamy.
"If the Supreme Court says that you have the right to
consensual [gay] sex within your home, then you have
the right to bigamy, you have the right to polygamy,
you have the right to incest, you have the right to
adultery," Santorum said in an infamous interview with the
Associated Press. "You have the right to anything. Does that
undermine the fabric of our society? I would argue, Yes, it
has come under fire from gay and lesbian activists for his
outing of various officials in Washington. In fact, his
outing campaign has exposed more than 20 gays who work
for conservative causes and politicians.
In August 2004,
Rogers heard from an anonymous source who sent taped
audio messages from the MegaMates personals phone line,
allegedly recorded by conservative Republican U.S.
representative Ed Schrock of Virginia, in which the
caller solicited casual sex from other men.
active Baptist who is married to a retired schoolteacher,
was no friend to gays. He earned a zero from gay
rights group Human Rights Campaign because of his
support of antigay legislation, while the Christian
Coalition gave him a 92% approval rating. A vocal opponent
of "don't ask, don't tell" from a military-dominated
district, he was happy to explain to his hometown
Virginia Beach newspaper why he wanted the military
kept a gay-free zone.
apparently ran seven personal ads on MegaMates/MegaPhone
Line: "I weigh 200 pounds...very buffed-up, uh, very
tanned.... I'd like him to be in very good
shape...well-hung, cut.... Nothing real heavy-duty....
[I can] go down on him, he can go down on me." After
Rogers verified the story to his satisfaction and posted the
audio file on his blog, Schrock backed out of his
reelection race. In a press release he said, "After
much thought and prayer, I have come to the
realization that these allegations will not allow my
campaign to focus on the real issues facing our nation
On Friday, Rogers
defended his decision to publicize Traynham's
sexuality, saying that he's not outing Traynham but instead
exposing "hypocrites in the government."
"You're using the
community that many people have fought many, many,
many years to establish, and you want to come into that
community, take advantage of it--go to the bars, go to
the scene, do all those things--then go back during
the day and use the billions of dollars of government
resources to deny my brothers and sisters equal access to
those rights and benefits," he said. "And that, to me, is
In Rogers's tape
Traynham calls Senator Santorum a "man of principle"
and "a devout family man" whom--in Traynham's
words--"I strongly do support."
Sign Up For Email Updates
- Photography Photos: Cuba Libre 5:29 AM
- Television These 20 Sexy Pics of Stephen Amell Will Hit Your Bullseye May 17 2013 9:00 PM
- Politics Portugal Approves Adoption Rights for Same-Sex Spouses May 17 2013 8:32 PM
- Pride S.F. Gay Couple Throw Fund-raiser for Trans Woman's Breast Implants May 17 2013 7:18 PM
- Marriage Equality WATCH: Marriage Equality a Big Story? Not on Fox News May 17 2013 7:18 PM
- Women Jonathan Groff/Troian Bellisario Starrer C.O.G. to Open Outfest May 17 2013 7:04 PM
- Style WATCH: Nasty Pig Meets Naughty Dog May 17 2013 7:00 PM