A fired police official has exposed what has been rumored for years in Montgomery: that 73-year-old married Alabama governor Robert Bentley is having an affair with his married chief political adviser, Rebekah Caldwell Mason.
Bentley denies the affair, saying his former employee only heard a conversation that was sexual in nature, but not indicative of a physical relationship. When reporters asked Bentley — a fierce opponent of LGBT rights who called same-sex marriage "a social experiment" and "demeaning to democracy" — if he was in love with Mason, he said, "I love many members of my staff, in fact, all the members of my staff. Do I love some more than others, absolutely."
Mason has not yet commented on the accusations of impropriety, and Bentley has made no indication he's stepping down. It's not clear where Mason's pay has been coming from as the state has no official record of her employment. Bentley's wife of 50 years filed for divorce last year.
Bentley campaigned on a platform of supposed family values, stating on his campaign website in 2010 that, "I will ensure that Alabama does not follow the trend of allowing gay marriages or civil unions, and I will protect our state's right to define marriage as between one man and one woman. I support the Defense of Marriage Act, affirming the right of states not to recognize same-sex marriages licensed in other states. Alabamians should work together to protect traditional marriage. The two-parent family provides the best environment of stability, discipline, responsibility, and character."
Alabama has shown some of the staunchest resistance to marriage equality, with the Supreme Court being forced to intervene to ensure same-sex couples could wed in Alabama after last year's Obergefell v. Hodges ruling.
Rachel Maddow had a field day with the Bentley story, happily pointing out the hypocrisy of a politician who ran on a "family values" platform now embroiled in a sex scandal. Watch below.