Monday, January 21, 2008

Wait, Who's Destroying Families? Another Case of Political Hypocrisy

The anti-gay prosecutor, Chuck Rosenthal (R), who argued before the US Supreme Court that sodomy laws should be upheld may be fired after the "discovery of e-mails containing sexually explicit videos, racist jokes and what is described as torrid love notes to his executive secretary."

As a refresher, Rosenthal argued in Lawrence v. Texas that the law criminalizing gay sex (er, "deviate sexual intercourse") should be upheld. Rosenthal lost his case as the Supreme Court struck down this law in 2003. What made the Texas sodomy law particularly heinous is that it applied only to same-sex sexual behavior. Specifically, it prohibited oral and anal sex only between people of the same sex, whereas some state sodomy laws prohibited these acts between all people.

Let's all take a moment to remember that as late as 2003, some states were still telling gay people (and sometimes straight people)- consenting adults- that they could not have sex in the privacy of their own homes! Effectively, many of my friends and I were criminals the entire 4 years I lived in Missouri.


Why is Rosenthal a hypocrite? The reasons are several:

1. Rosenthal is married and portrayed himself as a 'family values' candidate in his campaign.

2. Rosenthal argued in the Supreme Court, "I think that this Court having determined that there are certain kinds of conduct that it will accept and certain kinds of conduct it will not accept may draw the line at the bedroom door of the heterosexual married couple because of the interest that this Court has that this Nation has and certainly that the State of Texas has for the preservation of marriage, families and the procreation of children."

Rosenthal was essentially arguing that butt sex destroys marriage and families. And, while he was busy doing that, I suppose he forgot that it's actually adultery and, um, porn watching that destroys many marriages.

3. He also argued, "there is no protected right to engage in extrasexual - extramarital sexual relations." What really makes Chuck a hypocrite is that he believes that while others don't have the right to engage in "extrasexual- extramarital sexual relations," he does have that right. In short, he holds people to moral standards that he doesn't hold himself to.

But worse, his hypocritical actions will actually damage his marriage and family. Something gay sex has never done. (Unless, of course, he has more secrets yet to be uncovered....)

Congratulations, Chuck. Your spot in the H Hall of Shame is well-deserved!

I also must note that the allegations regarding racial jokes are, perhaps, even more troubling than his sexual indiscretions. We cannot reasonably expect the fair and equitable administration of justice in light of evidence that a state's top prosecutor is racist.

One example of the "jokes" found on his computer:

A picture "depicting a black man sprawled out on a sidewalk next to large slices of watermelon, a cup of soda and a chicken bucket. The title of the e-mail: Fatal Overdose."

While Chuck brags about his success in prosecuting and convicting criminals, I can't help but think that these recent revelations are even more evidence of a much larger epidemic regarding race and the criminal justice system.

One defense attorney says this of Rosenthal and the flaws in the criminal justice system,

"As I enter my 10th year as a criminal defense attorney in Harris County, I am more concerned than ever that the Harris County District Attorney's Office is systemically flawed — and that its leader, Chuck Rosenthal, has fostered a culture of inequality wherein which defendants are treated differently, not because of what they've done, but because of who they are."

It will be interesting to see how this pans out for Chuck.

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