Illinois GOP Senate candidate Mark Kirk today responded to allegations by rival candidate Andy Martin that he is gay. Martin ran radio ads pushing a “solid rumor” about Kirk’s sexuality over the Christmas holiday while Kirk was on active duty in Afghanistan as a member of the Navy Reserves.“Republican primary frontrunner for Senate Mark Kirk today denied rumors advanced in political attack ads that he was a homosexual. Speaking at the Union League Club concerning his recently completed Naval Reserve duty in Afghanistan, Kirk said simply: ‘No, it’s not true.’ To which he added that he’s getting tremendous support from his constituents concerning the issue.”
The problem here is that Mark Kirk is active duty military. He supports the discriminatory Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy. And, as one of the Democratic candidates for Senate, Jacob Meisters noted, a lot of military personnel have been investigated under DADT with “seemingly unreliable” rumors:
Rumors have served as the basis for investigations into the private lives of members of the military — and ruined many careers. It’s going to be hard for the military to avoid such a high-profile outing of a military official. Perhaps this is one way for Mark Kirk to find out for sure if DADT has, in fact, “worked out well.”
As long as Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is the law (and it shouldn’t be the law), what Mark Kirk says to the media doesn’t matter. Whether or not Kirk is gay is now a question for the military to decide.