News - September 1996

Republican Congressman comes out

Representative Jim Kolbe of Arizona's 5th District came out on August 1, facing mounting pressure from lesbian and gay journalists and activists.

Since the House passage of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), a renewed trend in gay media has emerged which encourages gay politicians to come out of the closet. A July 21 airing of the "Gay Show" on New York's WBAI-FM, reported that Kolbe and another Republican Congressman, Jim McCreary of Louisiana, were closeted gays.

On July 26, a collective of organizations and individuals, including the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force placed "A Call to Conscience," a full-page ad in the Washington Blade, a D.C. gay newspaper. Without naming names, the ad called upon closeted gays and lesbians in Congress to "end your silence and defend your community in this time of unprecedented hostility."

Additionally, Kolbe discovered that the Advocate, a national lesbian and gay magazine, would be runnng a story on him in its August 20 issue.

"I'm not bitter about this," Kolbe said in an interview with Arizona Daily Star. "I'm the same person I was yesterday, and I'll legislate just the same way. This should be as irrelevant as the fact that I am blue-eyed, right-handed and balding." Kolbe still stands by his vote in favor of DOMA.

©1996 Oasis Magazine. All Rights Reserved.