WATCH: 1950s Political Blackmail Caused Senate Suicide, Impeded Gay Rights Progress
BY Jase Peeples
June 11 2013 1:38 PM ET
More than 50 years after Wyoming senator Lester Hunt committed suicide inside his office, new details have come to light that reveal his son’s homosexuality may have been the catalyst for his action, reports MSNBC.
The new book from author Rodger McDaniel, Dying for Joe McCarthy’s Sins: The Suicide of Wyoming Senator Lester Hunt, uncovers several interesting details about the story that have been overlooked since Hunt took his own life in 1954.
A year before his suicide, Hunt’s 25-year-old son had been convicted of soliciting sex from an undercover male police officer. When Senator Hunt began his reelection campaign, Republican senator Joe McCarthy threatened to expose the event if Hunt did not withdraw his bid, leading Hunt to commit suicide two weeks later in his office.
After years of careful research, McDaniel believes stories such as Hunt’s prove Senator McCarthy, who was notorious for his anti-Communist crusades, played a major role in delaying LGBT rights progress in the United States.
“Prior to Joe McCarthy, homosexuals — while there was discrimination — were widely tolerated and there was a vibrant gay community in Washington, D.C.,” McDaniel says. However, when McCarthy discovered gay people were employed by the State Department, he began spreading rumors that homosexuals were security risks, and “overnight, the view of the country towards homosexuals became very negative,” the author says.
McDaniel discusses the details of his new book in the clip from MSNBC’s Deep Dive below.
- Hot Sheet: A New Quiver
- Boston: Major Beer Sponsor Pulls Out of St. Pat's Parade
- Op-ed: The Lasting Impact of Out TV Teens on LGBT Youth
- WATCH: Rachel Maddow Blasts Critics of Obama's Funny or Die Interview
- This Is How Every Parent Should Respond After Their 13-Year-Old Comes Out
- Vox Editor in Chief Defends Hiring of 'Homophobic' Gay Writer
- Theater Injury Sidelines Christopher Sieber in Matilda 5:00 AM
- Artist Spotlight Artist Spotlight: Hernan Marina 4:00 AM
- Hot Sheet Hot Sheet: A New Quiver March 14 2014 7:30 PM
- Travel State Department: Russia is Dangerous for All Americans March 14 2014 6:55 PM
- Women The 31 Most Eligible Out Women of 2014 March 14 2014 6:41 PM
- Marriage Equality Judge: Tenn. Must Recognize Three Same-Sex Marriages March 14 2014 6:39 PM
- Film Is Terence Davies' The Long Day Closes the Greatest Gay Film Ever Made? March 14 2014 5:30 PM