Senator Lindsey Graham says he's not
gay in a new profile published in the New York Times.
Graham's denial comes after an
unidentified speaker at a Tea Party rally in South Carolina last
March questioned whether the senator's support for a guest-worker
program was hush capital for Democrats threatening to out him.
“Barney Frank is more honest and
brave than you,” the speaker told the crown. “At least we know
about Barney Frank, and nobody is going to hold it over his head.
And we got to just … Look, I'm a tolerant person. I don't care
about your private life, Lindsey. But as a U.S. senator, I need to
try and figure out why you're trying to sell out your own countrymen.
And I need to make sure you being gay isn't it.”
Gay rumors have dogged the unmarried
Graham for years. Last year, openly lesbian politician Linda Ketner
outed Graham in an interview published on the progressive political
“We have more gay people serving in
South Carolina than probably in any place in the United States.
They're just not out of the closet,” she said, then gave the
examples of Graham, South Carolina State Senator Glenn McConnell and
Lieutenant Governor Andre Bauer, who is running for governor.
Ketner, who came close to unseating incumbent S.C. Representative
Henry Brown last November, later apologized for her remarks. Bauer
has denied he's gay – calling
the rumor “silly” – after blogger Mike
Rogers outed him.
Graham has racked up an impressive
anti-gay voting record while in Congress, including a recent vote in
the Senate Armed Services Committee against repeal of “Don't Ask,
Don't Tell,” the 1993 law that bans gay troops from serving openly.
In Thursday's profile, Robert Draper
reports that Graham simply smirked and denied he's gay when asked
about the Tea Party incident.
“Like maybe I'm having a clandestine
affair with Ricky Martin,” he said. “I know it's really gonna
upset a lot of gay men – I'm sure hundreds of 'em are gonna be
jumping off the Golden Gate bridge – but I ain't available. I
ain't gay. Sorry.”