South Carolina Lieutenant Governor Andre Bauer has called rumors he is gay “silly.”

The conservative Republican has dodged rumors of his sexual orientation for years, but early last week, activist blogger Mike Rogers, who claims a perfect outing record, called Bauer “a closeted anti-gay politician” in a blog post at Bauer, who assumed office in 2003 after serving in both chambers of the Legislature, often appears alongside of anti-gay former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee.

By the end of the week, state Senator Jake Knotts accused Governor Mark Sanford and his supporters of planting the rumor that Bauer is gay, and urged lawmakers to impeach Sanford in a letter addressed to legislators.

Sanford, a Republican, continues to resist calls to step down over an embarrassing sex scandal. Bauer, who is next in line for the governor's mansion, recently joined the chorus of elected officials calling for Sanford's resignation. Knotts called the rumor's timing into question, saying it is “obviously not a coincidence.”

On Friday, Bauer told Charleston NBC affiliate WCBD, News 2, that the rumors were “silly.”

“I don't really think it's a proper question,” Bauer said. “I think it's a little bit ridiculous and it's sad that politics has gotten to that.”

Bauer said he answered the question because he “doesn't want it to linger,” adding he wants to “talk about real issues.”

Likely to replace Sanford should he resign or be removed is Bauer, who in July went on the offensive, and without provocation denied rumors that he is gay.

One word, two letters. 'No.' Let's go ahead and dispel that now,” Bauer said in an interview with The State, then added, “Is Andre Bauer gay? That is now the story. We're a long way from where we were a week ago.”

Rogers' work recently appeared in Director Kirby Dick's controversial documentary Outrage. The film looks at the lives of gay politicians who remain deep in the closet and actively support an anti-gay agenda.

On his post, Rogers cites several unnamed sources as confirming Bauer's sexual orientation, including one man who says: “I've had sex with him on two separate occasions.”

Knotts, however, vouched for Bauer's heterosexuality, telling CNN: “Ain't a homosexual bone in his body. That boy is a good boy.”