(This guest post comes to us from Eric Marcus, an NYC-based author who wrote Making Gay History, Breaking the Surface, Is It A Choice?, and several other books on gay issues. He blogs at Up & Out. ~a.b.)
David Vitter, the Republican Senator from Louisiana, is not your average John. He’s a family values John. No mere defender of traditional marriage, he declared, as Frank Rich wrote in his July 22 New York Times column, “that there is no ‘more important’ issue facing America than altering the constitution to defend marriage.”
And just because he was caught up in the DC Madam scandal and was forced to acknowledge his transgressions before the cameras while holding his wife’s hand (she had once threatened to use that hand to Bobbitt him if she caught him doing what he’s now admitted he’s done, so I’m surprised he wasn’t holding both her hands) that doesn’t make him any less a believer in the sanctity of marriage. It does, however, make him a hypocrite and a law-breaker. And for these crimes he must be punished.
I propose a two-part punishment: removal from the Senate and restitution to the women whose services he paid for. If Vitter had the values most of us value, he would have used his recent press conference to announce his resignation. But he doesn’t and he didn’t, so the Senator’s Republican colleagues, at least the righteous ones among them, should persuade him to resign. Failing that, the full Senate should vote to expel him.
Regarding restitution, some might argue that this was a victimless crime and that Vitter doesn’t owe the women with whom he sex anything more than he’s already paid. I disagree. So I propose that Vitter pay for first-class health insurance—like the plan that all members of Congress have voted to give themselves—for all of the women he slept with. And their children. For life. (Family values Republicans are no fans of condoms, so we can only speculate what the good Senator might have exposed these women to.)
Maybe good Christians can find it in their hearts to forgive this serial sinner and let him work out his public shame in private. But I’m no Christian and I have no doubt that this hard-charging, upstanding straight guy who campaigned to screw us gay folks out of the legal right to marry—while he paid to screw someone other than his wife—must be punished. Let’s put old-fashioned American values to work. Send him home. Make him pay.