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News - October 1996

Senate outing report

By Michael Petrelis

My outing news conference today succeeded beyond my expectations. After briefly detailing an outing news conference I held on the Capitol Steps in May 1990, I then re-outed the three Senators who were on my list then.

They are: Mark Hatfield, Republican of Oregon; Herb Kohl, Democrat of Wisconsin; and Barbara Mikulski, Democrat of Maryland. All three are presently sitting on the fence about how they'll vote on DOMA.

The other activists in attendance were my boyfriend Mike Merrigan; and Steve Michael and Wayne Turner of ACT UP/Washington, DC. Merrigan and I have been in a committed relationship for one year and five months. Steve Michael and Wayne Turner have been in a similar relationship for more than five years.

We explained to the reporters that we think gay marriage is about one thing -- love. I told the more than three dozen reporters, photographers and camera technicians, "There aren't a limited number of marriage licenses in America. My boyfriend and I want what straight people take for granted; the recognition and benefits accorded by the states to couples."

When asked if we were violating the privacy of the alleged closeted Senators, I said no. "We're asking the American media and people to apply the same standards when reporting about how the 'private' lives of politicians affects their public duties. I can't think of a single reporter decrying the 'violation' of Dick Morris' privacy last week. Indeed, everyone in America now knows about how Morris, a heterosexual, engaged in toe-sucking sexual practices with a female prostitute."

Two reporters who did not attend the news conference, but called afterward, asked why I didn't out Senator Larry Pressler, Republican of South Dakota. One reporter, of the New York Daily News, informed me that Pressler is known as "the prairie fairy."

All in all, I'm happy that we focused attention on closetry in the Senate, and how we believe that closetry may directly contribute to DOMA passing. I also believe the hinges on Senate closet doors may have been opened.

Finally, it must be noted that Rev. Mel White, an MCC leader and former ghostwriter for Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell, was in attendance to silently lend support to our efforts to defeat DOMA. White is presently on a hunger strike as a means of focusing attention on the need to defeat DOMA.

©1996 Oasis Magazine. All Rights Reserved.