[T]he news about Mark Foley has a kind of grim inevitability to it. I don't know Foley, although, like any other gay man in D.C., I was told he was gay, closeted, afraid and therefore also screwed up. What the closet does to people - the hypocrisies it fosters, the pathologies it breeds - is brutal. There are many still-closeted gay men in D.C., many of them working for a Republican party that has sadly deeply hostile to gay dignity. How they live with themselves I do not fully understand. But I have learned you cannot judge someone's soul from outside. That I leave to them and their God, and some I count as good friends and good people.I know this is a religious scruple -- "Judge not, that you be not judged" -- but I hear very harsh judgment in what Sullivan writes about those who choose to keep their sexual orientation private. Sullivan's prose is flowery, but it's not much different from the familiar -- and comical -- way some folks spout criticisms and then tag on the phrase "I'm not judging." And "I leave to them and their God" -- how far is that from saying "Go to hell"?
What I do know is that the closet corrupts. The lies it requires and the compartmentalization it demands can lead people to places they never truly wanted to go, and for which they have to take ultimate responsibility. From what I've read, Foley is another example of this destructive and self-destructive pattern for which the only cure is courage and honesty. While gays were fighting for thir basic equality, Foley voted for the "Defense of Marriage Act". If his resignation means the end of the closet for him, and if there is no more to this than we now know, then it may even be for the good. Better to find integrity and lose a Congressional seat than never live with integrity at all.But I'm not judging! That's God's job.
Sullivan's hypothesis is: Keeping information about your sexual orientation private will corrupt you. His proof -- can you challenge it? -- is that he knows so many people and has seen so much. He's making a strong political argument: If you are gay, you must be open about it, and once you are open about it, you will be forced to support gay marriage. To make this argument, he's willing to imply that Foley's behavior toward a young subordinate is a manifestation of homosexuality. But many heterosexuals also pursue young subordinates. They are fully open about their sexual orientation, but somehow they do bad things too.