WASHINGTON - Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender political organization, released the following statement today in response to the Republican leadership's response to the scandal involving Mark Foley. Several high-level conservatives in recent days have gone on the offensive trying to make this story about a gay issue.
"The language from high-level conservatives in the last couple of days has been deeply troubling. They continue to try and dodge responsibility for their cover-up, instead opting to do what they do best by blaming gays," said Solmonese. "It is completely unacceptable, regardless of party or sexual orientation, for an adult to engage in this kind of behavior with a minor. The American people deserve leaders who confront problems and take responsibility, not leaders who excuse their corruption by trying to pin it on others.
"If the Republican leadership cared about the well-being of our country they would level with the American people and call this what it is - inexcusable behavior that has nothing to do with one's sexual orientation."
During an interview with "FOX News Sunday with Chris Wallace," former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich defended the Republican cover-up by stating, "I think, had they overly aggressively reacted to the initial round, they would have also been accused of gay bashing."
Yesterday, in an e-mail alert to members, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins wrote, "[The House GOP leadership] discounted or downplayed earlier reports concerning Foley's behavior - probably because they did not want to appear 'homophobic.' The Foley scandal shows what happens when political correctness is put ahead of protecting children."
Yesterday, Solmonese released a statement directly in response to ex-Rep. Mark Foley's actions. The statement is as follows: "Gay or straight, Democrat or Republican, it is completely inexcusable for an adult to have this kind of communication with a minor. Congressman Foley brought shame on himself and this Congress by his horrible behavior and complete lack of judgment. We strongly condemn his behavior."
The Human Rights Campaign is the largest national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender political organization with members throughout the country. It effectively lobbies Congress, provides campaign support and educates the public to ensure that LGBT Americans can be open, honest and safe at home, at work and in the community.
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