The Secret Gay Loved Ones of Homophobic PoliticiansS

Statistics being what they are, every homophobic politician must have a gay loved one hiding somewhere. Dick Cheney has Mary. Alan Keyes has Maya. And Christine O'Donnell, Tea Party Queen of Delaware, has a lesbian sister in L.A.

The Daily Beast's Michelle Goldberg interviewed an ex-ex-gay Christian and former co-worker of the anti-gay, anti-masturbation Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell. Once "cured" of his gayness, he toiled in the closet until he met O'Donnell's openly gay sister, who inspired him to come out:

Indeed, it was meeting her sister, he says, that helped him begin to accept his own sexuality. "What helped me really come to grips was that her sister is an open lesbian and was living in L.A. and was in a long-term relationship and was working with a youth organization," he says. "By hanging out with her, I saw, wow, she has a pretty normal life."

One of the great mysteries of political homophobia is how the people who advocate it reconcile politicized hatred with familial love. Dick Cheney lived a paradox, quietly acknowledging his lesbian daughter Mary while campaigning to allow her to remain a second-class citizen. Alan Keyes, on the other hand, stayed consistent: He disowned daughter Maya after she came out at a gay Valentine's Day rally. Karl Rove waffles on his father's sexuality. Newt Gingrich ignores his half-sister who is an LGBT activist. And Michele Bachmann—whose gay step-sister came out publicly at one of Bachmann's anti-gay rallies—has yet to acknowledge the gay-related unrest in her extended family.

I want to know more of these people's stories. Does Thanksgiving dinner get awkward when your career depends on your willingness to label your child a deviant? What happens when a family member redefines "family" so you can't have one?

Gayness in the family is, of course, the least of Christine O'Donnell's problems. I have it on good authority that someone—and I can't say who, just someone—in her family masturbates, too. [Daily Beast, images via AP]

Update: Meet Tea Party Queen Christine O'Donnell's Lesbian Sister