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Is Arizona Sheriff Babeu’s Story About Outing, Immigration or Mitt Romney?- Video

Is Arizona Sheriff Babeu’s Story About Outing, Immigration or Mitt Romney?- Video

by Karen Ocamb on February 20, 2012

Arizona Sheriff Paul Babeu (Photo from Babeu's Campaign website)

The story of Arizona’s Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu – an anti-illegal immigration hardliner and a Republican rising star running for Congress – has been firing up news outlets that think they’ve hit the trifecta. Babeu came out as gay, refuted allegations that he threatened to deport his Mexican former lover after the ex threatened to out him, and Babeu resigned as volunteer co-chair Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign in the state.

Last Friday, Babeu held a news conference pushing back against the tabloid report in Thursday’s Phoenix New Times. On his campaign website, Babeu wrote:

Yesterday, a tabloid article made a number of false allegations about me. Only one was true: I’m gay. Today, I held a press conference to discuss this. I want to be judged on my service: 20 years in the military, two deployments – including one in Iraq, a police officer who has responded to thousands of calls for help, and a Sheriff who has cut response times while reducing my own budget. I hope you will stand with me as we talk about the issues that matter: securing our border and ending the record debt and deficit spending that is stalling our economy and bankrupting the country we all love.

But the story has become fodder for cable arguments, too, such as this one between openly gay columnist LZ Granderson and Will Cain on CNN this Monday morning. Here’s how Mediate reported it, with Granderson saying he thinks Babeu resigned to not let the gay “rub off” on Romney:

[Will Cain:] “The only point I think we disagree with is whether or not this story has any bigger meaning or context, and I don’t think it does. I think what you have here is largely a lover’s spat between a sheriff and his ex-lover, meaning we shouldn’t trust, by the way, what either side is saying right now. But we have a sheriff who’s come out as gay. Big deal. I don’t see the bigger story and I don’t see how it impacts Mitt Romney’s campaign.”…

Granderson began by reminding Cain that Babeu “didn’t come out as gay, he was outed,”  and noted that Babeu’s actions seem to belie the notion that his resignation from Romney’s campaign was about the scandal, not the gay. “This man is going to continue to run for Congress,” he said, “but pull out of helping Mitt Romney run for president. Now I ask you, what are the qualifications to run for Congress, and how are they different than the ones helping him run for president? You know, why did he resign? Did he resign because he didn’t think he was in an environment in which he could be openly gay?”

“I don’t know how lz can draw that conclusion from one factor among three in this story,” Cain responded, pointing out that the serious allegations against Babeu will continue to drive the story. “It’s not hard to see why the sheriff would say, I don’t know that I’m a good figure to be involved with the Mitt Romney campaign now, I’m not going to do this to this campaign.”

“But I’m still good enough to be your congressman?” Granderson shot back. “Ii can’t volunteer and help Mitt Romney run for president, but I can be your congressman? How does that make sense?”

“That only affects his own career,” Cain said. “Perhaps he is taking a noble stance. I have some negative publicity around me right now. I don’t think that should rub off on the guy I’m endorsing.”

“I don’t think the gay should be rubbing off on Mitt Romney is what he’s saying. Not necessarily my scandal.” Granderson replied.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Lucrece February 20, 2012 at 9:47 PM

Story in a nutshell:

Babeau is a sleazy cheater of the Log Cabin Republican Uncle Tom variety. Ex gets pissed off and holds a grudge for 3 years to release this info and some dramatized tail for election time. Progressive newspaper with slant for amnesty picks up story and sensationalizes it to appeal to immigrant homophobia.

I’m seeing the Spanish language interviews in Miami, Florida and California — they’re not flattering to gay people. They just paint the hypocritical white man with a fetish for Latino meat angle. Even though the deportation claim has been debunked.

The media plays the same sport they always do with closeted hypocrites : that gay people are at fault of their own twisted situations, as opposed tothe fact that straight people are 95% of the population and the main ones responsible for our personal hells and that most politicians that oppose gay rights are in fact straight as opposed to the lazy scapegoating of “homophobia= secretly and conflicted gay”.

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Sage February 21, 2012 at 1:25 AM

I agree, as the title of this piece implies, there are a number of ways one could chose to understand the current Paul Babeu news cycle. As an African Descended, same gender loving man who believes he has been oppressed far more by the bigotry and racism of white, gay men than by that of straight people , I am currently choosing to see this story as Babeu simply being the latest revealed student of the Dan Savage school of white, gay, male privilege and bigotry (with Andrew Sullivan revealing several months ago that he too belongs to this school with his “Bell Curve” inspired stance about intelligence and race). All these white , gay men who belong to this school need to wake up and understand they are doing the rest of us in the highly diverse LGBT communities no favors with their twisted understandings of everything from bisexuality to US immigration policy.

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Lucrece February 21, 2012 at 9:36 AM

LOL white, gay men do more harm to other gay people than straight people. What a joke. The “same-gender loving” euphemism should’ve given away what kind of view is behind that post. Outright delusional.

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Sage February 22, 2012 at 10:32 AM

If you are indeed *not* an African American, same gender loving man, you are only demonstrating your arrogance by imagining you can critique and even attempt to belittle the experience of someone belonging to groups you yourself do not belong to. If you are white, you are also demonstrating your white privilege and white supremacy. If you are a white gay man you have proven the truth of my words beyond anything else I could possibly say. Your words have become the quintessential demonstration of everything I said in my original comment. If you are a white gay man and continue to show your ignorance and arrogance in the way you have above, you will make substantiating the words in my original comment immeasurably more easy for which I would be so incredibly thankful. Thank YOU!

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Sage February 22, 2012 at 10:48 AM

Further, no matter who or what you are, you do not get to tell me what my experience is or has been in life, which is exactly what you attempted to do in your rebuttal to me. You do not get to do that. You simply don’t. There is no negotiation on that point. There is nothing you can say that could even come close to serving as an excuse for that, a validation for that that, an explanation for that, period. You are simply out of line.

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Sage February 23, 2012 at 9:47 AM

The term SGL (Same Gender Loving) emerged in the early ‘90s to offer Black women who love women and Black men who love men (and other people of color) a way of identifying that resonated with the uniqueness of Black life and culture. Before this, many African descended people, knowing little about their history regarding homosexuality and bi-sexuality, had taken on European symbols and identifications as a means of embracing their sexuality(ies): Greek lambdas, German pink triangles, the White-gay-originated rainbow flag, in addition to the terms “gay’ and “lesbian.”

The term “gay,” coined as an identification by White male homosexuals beginning in the in the 50s, was cultivated in an exclusive White male environment. By the late 60s, the growing Gay Liberation movement developed in a climate excluding Blacks and women. In response to this discrimination, White women coined the identification “lesbian,” a word derived from the Greek island Lesbos. The lesbian movement, in turn, helped define a majority White movement called “feminism.” In response to the racism experienced by women of color from white feminists, celebrated author Alice Walker introduced the term “womanist.”

The term “womanist” identified woman of color concerned with the oppression of women and with addressing the problem of “racism.” In this spirit of self-naming and ethnic-sexual pride, the term “same gender loving” (SGL) was introduced to enhance the lives and illuminate the voices of homosexual and bi-sexual people of color; to provide a powerful identification not marginalized by racism in the gay community or “homophobic” attitudes in society at large.

As gay culture grew and established itself in San Francisco, Greenwich Village, West Hollywood and other enclaves, Blacks, especially, were carded and rejected from many establishments. Even today Blacks, Asians and Latinos often appear in the pages of gay publications solely as the potential sexual objects of white men. Ironically, gay rights activism was modeled on the Black Civil Rights and Black Power Movements of the ‘50s and ‘60s. Unfortunately, this replication of Black liberation provided little incentive for gays to acknowledge SGL Blacks, Latinos, Asians and Native Americans.

Since the advent of the gay rights movement many Black SGLs painfully discovered that this “movement” provided little space for the voices, experiences and empowerment of Black people. The rigid influence of the Black church and its traditionally anti-homosexual stance has contributed to attitudes that repress and marginalize Black SGLs. The lack of acknowledgement and support in the Black community has led multitudes of same gender loving African descended people to the White community to endure racism, isolation from their own communities, oppression and cultural insensitivity.

The high visibility of the white gay community contributes to the tendency in Black communities to overlook or ridicule Black SGL relationships as alien or aberrant. The Black SGL movement has inspired national dialogue on diverse ways of loving in the Black community. The term same gender loving explicitly acknowledges loving within same-sex relationships while encouraging self-love.

SGL has served as a wakeup call for Blacks to acknowledge diverse ways of loving and sexualities and has provided an opportunity for Blacks and other people of color to claim, nurture and honor their significance within their families and communities.

Seeking support and positive identification, people of color still endure ethnic invisibility in many gay settings and sexuality invisibility in their own communities. It is the intention of the SGL movement to break these cycles. The term “same gender loving” (SGL) has been adopted by women and men from all over the African Diaspora. To same gender loving sisters and brothers everywhere… Peace, self-love and respect to you, to your families, communities and allies.

*This information was obtained from Rod “Big Rod” Risbrook’s Blog, “Nubian Knights Network.” I believe he likely got it from the website of Black Men’s Exchange, where it is also located.

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