Congressman who has voted against gay rights believed gay; Newspapers said to have deliberately muzzled reporters on gay issues
By John Byrne | Raw Story Editor
A Republican congressman from California who has repeatedly voted against gay rights measures is said to be gay himself, and at least three MediaNews Group newspapers are said to have instructed its reporters not to ask questions about the congressman’s sexuality or how it relates to public policy.
After RAW STORY ran an article suggesting that Congressman David Dreier, R-CA, might be gay, Hustler Magazine revealed that they planned a major expose exploring the conflict between the congressman’s sexuality and his positions on gay rights.
Michael Rogers, the gay activist who outed Dreier Thursday on his site, blogACTIVE, said he “was especially interested in talking with Brad Smith about his living arrangements with the Congressman here in DC.” He added Thursday that he wondered how Smith felt when Dreier claimed to be dating woman.
Brad Smith is Rep. Dreier’s chief of staff. Dreier’s 2000 challenger has also said she was aware Dreier was living with Smith.
Rogers was largely responsible for the resignation of Rep. Ed Schrock (R-Va), after he posted a suggestion that the congressman might be gay Aug. 19. He subsequently posted three audio clips which allegedly reveal Schrock leaving voicemails on a gay phone sex service.
Hustler also released a letter sent to the editor of a newspaper in Dreier’s district which suggests that the paper deliberately worked to keep Dreier’s sexuality and his positions on gay issues off the front page.
Another individual has also told RAW STORY she set up a liaison between the congressman and another man. She added that she believes Dreier thinks of himself as bisexual.
Hustler issued a statement Friday detailing their investigation.
“Hustler believes that the best way to deal with what appears to be glaring examples of hypocrisy is to expose them and bring them into full relief in front of the public,” the magazine said. “Our team of journalists in New York City covering the GOP convention struck gold—the details of which are to be published in an upcoming issue this fall.”
Hustler also says the media has played along in a charade to preserve the Dreier’s heterosexual facade. They released a copy of a letter written by Hustler Features Editor Mark Cromer and mailed to Phil Drake, city editor of the MediaNews-owned San Gabriel Valley Tribune, which inquires about editorial guidelines governing the coverage of Rep. Dreier.
When questioned by phone Tuesday, Hustler named two other MediaNews papers which had been sent similar letters: the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin and the Pasadena Star News.
MediaNews Group is run by conservative media mogul Dean Singleton, who, in 1996, donated $500 to Colorado Senator Wayne Allard [R]. Allard was a cosponsor of the Senate version of the Federal Marriage Amendment, an amendment which would have constitutionally banned gay marriage.
The letter alleges the paper has specific editorial guidelines when it comes to questioning Rep. Dreier on “issues concerning sexuality and how it relates to public policy.”
Drake roundly denied the paper had any policy regarding Congressman Dreier or any other public official.
“We have no such policy,” Drake said. “We never have and I don’t forsee we ever will.”
Drake declined to comment on whether the paper had ever received information or explored issues relating to the Congressman’s sexuality.
Hustler calls Tribune editor “liar”
Hustler’s Cromer blasted back, saying that Drake was a “liar.” He said the papers considered Dreier a “sacred cow.”
“Was there a memo put out?” Cromer said. “No. Was there very specific guidelines? Sure.”
“You don’t have to put out a memo saying deserters will be shot,” he added. “The newspapers didn’t have to put out a memo to tell reporters that if they asked David Dreier embarassing questions about his sexuality they’d be fired.”
“The people in Dreier’s district have to ask themselves: have they been served by their newspapers?”
In a statement to RAW STORY, the magazine said, “Hustler knows that Rep. Dreier has enjoyed for many years the benefit of a ‘don’t ask, don’t tell policy’ of the Republican-controlled newspapers in his home district, the very benefit that most Americans don’t enjoy and thus suffer blatant discrimination as a result, including job termination.”
Congressman regularly voted against gay rights
The 52-year-old single congressman voted for the Marriage Protection Act in July, a measure that would have stripped federal courts of jurisdiction over challenges to the Defense of Marriage Act, which bans the federal government from recognizing gay partnerships. Dreier did not vote on the latest amendment to constitutionally ban gay marriage, and said he was against it.
Dreier, a Christian Scientist, also voted for the original Defense of Marriage Act in 1996 and a measure that banned gays from adopting in Washington, D.C. He has a 92 percent favorability rating from the Christian Coalition, and was elected with Ronald Reagan in 1980.
Hustler sent Dreier a letter Sept. 7 asking to interview him about the “intersection of human sexuality, national politics and the conservative agenda.” They have not received a response.
When asked if he was heterosexual on a Sirus Radio interview Aug. 31, Rep. Dreier refused to answer.
“I’m not going to talk about that issue,” Dreier said. “That’s really not what I’m here about.”
Hustler said they hope the congressman will come forward and address the issue.
“This has nothing to do with what a public official does in private,” they said. “It has everything to do with the consistency of a political party’s agenda and the honesty of its members.”
Dreier viewed as shining star of Republican House contingent
Congressman Dreier is viewed as the Silicon Valley’s man in Washington and an affable star of the House Republican leadership. In a July profile published by the San Jose Mercury News, the paper
“More eloquent than understated House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., and more ingratiating than tough-talking Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, Dreier has emerged as the House GOP leadership’s public face on television,” a reporter wrote.
Charlie Black, an adviser to the Bush re-election campaign, told the paper the Bush attitude is, ‘’Get him on every show you can.'’
Rep. Dreier is the chair of the powerful Rules Committee in the House of Representatives. He played a large role in the recall of former California governor Gray Davis, and in the election of Arnold Schwarzenegger.
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