Aaron Schock, the photogenic Republican representing Illinois's 18th Congressional District, will be leaving Washington March 31. The 33-year-old congressman, who just started his fourth term in office, is resigning in the wake of growing scrutiny of his use of official funds for personal leisure and travel, Politico reports.
Schock has been a vocal opponent of LGBT equality since he entered Congress in 2009. He received a 0 percent rating from the Human Rights Campaign in his first term, during which he voted against including sexual orientation in federal hate-crimes legislation and opposed efforts to repeal of the military's ban on out LGB service members known as "don't ask, don't tell." He was also a vocal critic of the Obama administration's decision to stop defending the so-called Defense of Marriage Act in February 2011.
Schock has repeatedly affirmed his opposition to marriage equality, fumbling through a reporter's inquiry about why he doesn't support the freedom to marry in January 2013. In 2012 he told out BuzzFeed News legal editor Chris Geidner that he "[hadn't] really thought too much about" his party's proposed federal amendment to ban same-sex marriage nationwide, saying he would "have to read it" before forming his opinion. In 2010 Schock went on record saying "I do not support gay marriage, and I believe in the definition of marriage being between one man and one woman."
Last year gay journalist Itay Hod wrote a scathing Facebook post asking why it was not acceptable to out antigay politicians who are in the closet, never directly mentioning Schock, but linking to a piece on out blogger John Aravosis's site titled "7 Gayest Aaron Schock Instagram Posts of 2013."
Amid growing coverage of his alleged financial misconduct — including a $10,000 remodel of his Capitol Hill office to resemble a set for the PBS program Downton Abbey documented by The Washington Post — the National Journal earlier this month reported that Schock also failed to formally disclose the presence of a male photographer who accompanied him on an August trip to India. The photographer, with whom Schock had reportedly worked in the past, did not appear on the congressman's payroll until the month after the two men returned from India.