An openly lesbian politician who came close to unseating incumbent South Carolina Representative Henry Brown in November has outed three Republican lawmakers.

Linda Ketner's narrow loss to Brown heartened South Carolina gay politicos who never expected such a tight race. A longtime businesswoman and community activist, Ketner's clear leadership attracted strong support from a community mostly cool to gay rights. In 2006, a large majority (78%) of South Carolina voters approved a gay marriage ban in their state constitution.

Speaking to Howie Klein at Fire Dog Lake, a progressive political blog, Ketner outed three prominent South Carolina Republican lawmakers as gay.

“We have more gay people serving in South Carolina than probably in any place in the United States,” Ketner said. “They're just not out of the closet.”

Ketner gave three examples: U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham, state Senator Glenn McConnell and Lieutenant Governor Andre Bauer.

Graham is the senior senator from the state and serves on the Armed Services and Judiciary Committees. The nation's largest gay rights advocate, the Human Rights Campaign, failed the senator on support of GLBT issues; scoring zero on the group's 110th Congressional Scorecard.

McConnell is the current Senate President Pro Tempore, a position he's held since 1980. A strong supporter of “family values,” he has sponsored anti-abortion and illegal immigration legislation.

Bauer calls himself “South Carolina's hardest working elected official” and is considered a social conservative, appearing often with anti-gay former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee. He assumed office in 2003 after serving in both chambers of the Legislature.

Ketner's claims come on the heels of Director Kirby Dick's controversial documentary Outrage which looks at the lives of gay politicians who remain deep in the closet and actively support an anti-gay agenda.