South Carolina lieutenant governor Andre Bauer dismissed widespread rumors that he is gay on Friday, telling a Charleston news station that the persistent question about his sexual orientation is "silly."
During an interview, WCBD-TV news anchor Carolyn Murray asked Bauer why he bothered to respond to the rumors -- the lieutenant governor has denied being gay. Bauer replied that he wanted to make sure the speculation did not linger, so that he could advance state business and "not continue to dwell on some silly question in the first place."
"I sure hope it ends the issue because it's not important," said Bauer. "It's not something we should be talking about in politics. But I don't want people to dwell on it. I don't want to continue to have to hear about it. I want to nip it in the bud and move forward real issues that can improve South Carolina."
Last week, blogger Mike Rogers outed Bauer as gay, claiming that multiple sources could confirm his relations with men. However, South Carolina state legislators accused embattled governor Mark Sanford of being behind the rumors.
Fellow Republicans including Bauer, who would succeed Sanford should he resign, have called on the governor to step down in the wake of revelations about his extramarital affair with a woman in Argentina, and alleged use of taxpayer money to finance his travels.