I realize Larry Craig is so yesterday. But being on vacation for a week without internet access allows more time for thought. And one of the things DH and I thought about was Larry Craig. (Yes, I know, being on vacation, we should have been thinking about much more fun topics. But Larry Craig did come up.) We got into a discussion of whether anyone had asked a simple question: Was what Senator Craig ostensibly did in the men’s room actually illegal?
Why is it that it’s OK for a guy to approach a woman in a bar and say “Hey honey, you want to hook up?” But it’s not OK for two men to signal an interest in the same thing by tapping their feet in a men’s room?
I’m not a big fan of “sting” operations in the first place. There used to be an old commercial on television trying to discourage car thievery that said, “Lock your car. Take your keys. Don’t help a good boy go bad.” The idea behind it was that even good people can be tempted to a commit a crime under the right circumstances; and if you create those circumstances, someone might commit a crime they might not have otherwise. (Of course, it is still the responsibility of the person tempted to resist temptation...but that's a whole other discussion).
So there is something about stings that just rubs me the wrong way in general, since basically they create the circumstances that tempt the target of the sting. Of course, this probably would not have been the first time Larry Craig tried to hook up in the men’s room, so I’ll let that aspect of it go.
But there is an even bigger question in my mind in his case. Was what he was “stung” with actually illegal? And if so, why?
Why would it be illegal to transmit an interest in sex through a few hand and foot signals? I could see it if he were caught with his pants down in flagrante delicto in the men’s room. Sex in a public place where young boys might be coming in to use the facilities is clearly not legal, nor should it be.
But should the simple invitation to have sex be illegal? It’s not the same as prostitution, where the undercover officer waits until the unfortunate john actually offers money for the services of what he thought was a hooker before whipping out the handcuffs. But as far as I know, I don’t believe the hand and foot signals are designed to indicate a desire to pay for sex, just to have it. So what’s the crime?
To me, this case is a very gray area, and I am starting to feel Larry Craig is right to fight the conviction - not by saying he isn’t gay, didn’t know about the signals, or that he had a “wide stance.” Perhaps what he should be fighting is the violation of civil rights that occurs when it is against the law for two consenting adults to simply make signals that they are interested in a sexual liaison. Actually having that liaison in a public place? NO. But for all the cop knew, Mr. Craig might have then suggested they repair to a local hotel room for their rendez-vous, had his signals been returned in kind - rather than by the presentation of a police badge.
So where is the illegality? Am I missing something here?
I’d be interested in hearing others’ thoughts on this. To me it is just another example of discrimination against gays built into our laws, a continued double standard that allows the public to let David Vitter slide and crucify the Larry Craigs of the world.
Although I appreciate the irony of a staunch GOP defender of “family values” being caught trying to hook up with another guy in a men’s room, when I give the whole thing further thought, I start to feel uneasy. What about you?