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I'm Gay: The 50 Most Powerful Coming Outs of 2012

2012

2012: GAYEST YEAR EVER

"The fact is, I'm gay." Anderson Cooper's long-awaited announcement sums what it meant to come out in 2012. Again and again we heard the same sentiment — from pop singer Mika's equally anticipated confirmation, "If you ask me am I gay, I say yeah," to actor Andrew Rannells casually remarking about relating to a gay character, "I am gay in real life, so I definitely get it." —  proving that coming out today is in many cases a non-event, and certainly secondary to other achievements.

Yes, a lot has changed in the 15 years since Time magazine ran that cover of Ellen DeGeneres declaring, "Yep, I'm Gay," and even in the six since Lance Bass told People, "I'm Gay." Entertainment Weekly published a cover story this summer called "The New Art Of Coming Out," concluding, "The current vibe for discussing one’s sexuality is almost defiantly mellow."

Yet most of this positive change has happened in familiar territory.

Former NFL star Wade Davis' coming out was a first, as was current professional boxer Orlando Cruz's. And Lee "Uncle Poodle" Thompson from Here Comes Honey Boo Boo helped broaden the overall discussion about LGBT people. But there are a few people on this list who were less valiant, like Republican Sheriff Paul Babeu, and still others who remained quiet about their sexuality to the day they died. The debate over balance between privacy and responsibility is still one worth having, and clearly there are more arenas where LGBT people need space to shine.

All in all, though, 2012 shows that gay people who break down that closet can have it all.

Who had the 50 Most Powerful Coming Outs of 2012?

Find out (in alphabetical order), AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "I'm Gay: The 50 Most Powerful Coming Outs of 2012" »


Sheriff Paul Babeu Cleared Of Wrongdoing

Gay sherriff paul babeu

Things are suddenly looking good for Sheriff Paul Babeu, of Pinal County, Arizona. Recall: He's the famed immigration hawk who was considered a rising star in the GOP, with appearances on FOX News, cameos in John McCain campaign ads, and a Romney campaign chairmanship -- until the Phoenix New Times broke the story of his long-term gay fling with an illegal immigrant named Jose Orozco, whom it appeared Sheriff Babeu had promised to deport if the young man divulged details of his and Babeu's relationship.

After the story broke, Babeu immediately came out of the closet, canceled his scheduled run for Congress, cut his ties to the Romney campaign, and recomitted himself to Sherififng. On Tuesday he handily won his primary election, and yesterday he was cleared of wrongdoing in the  Orozco flap.

From Reuters:

"The Attorney General's Office will not file charges against either Babeu or Orozco," Solicitor General Dave Cole said in a statement released on Friday.

"The investigation determined that Babeu did not commit any criminal violations and further concluded that, although Orozco conducted himself in a manner that may constitute a violation of the law, there was no reasonable likelihood of conviction on anything more than a misdemeanor charge."

Sheriff Babeu was pleased that the "truth has won out," and blamed the whole scandal on election-year-politics.


Paul Babeu Wins GOP Race to Advance in Reelection as Pinal County Sheriff

BabeuPinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu, who quit his run for Congress and said he would seek reelection as sheriff last May after a scandal in which he was forced out of the closet after threatening a former boyfriend with deportation, won his Republican primary, the AP reports:

Babeu easily bested three GOP challengers Tuesday to advance to November's general election. The victory comes months after he was forced to acknowledge he is gay after stories emerged of a falling out with a former lover and shirtless photos of him on a gay dating website emerged.

Babeu pulled out of the race for a congressional seat after the news broke and said he wanted to keep his current post instead. He will face Democrat Kevin Taylor in the general election. Taylor beat Kevin Millsaps for his party's nomination.


Sheriff Paul Babeu Tells Don Lemon He Can Help 'Bridge the Chasm' in the GOP on Gay Issues: VIDEO

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Don Lemon interviewed Pinal County, Arizona Sheriff Paul Babeu late on Friday following his announcement last week that he was quitting his run for Congress and seeking reelection as Sheriff.

Lemon talked to Babeu about the effect that his coming out had on the Republican party and where he sees himself in it, asking Babeu if he would be the guy to "bridge the chasm" in the GOP over gay issues.

“I believe I can be one of – I won’t be so bold as to say 'I’m the guy.' We need some officials in the Republican party that just don’t come out and say 'hey, I support these issues,' but actually live their life doing their job first – and that’s most important – but also say, 'this is who I am.'”

Babeu added that it is important for the GOP to have out and proud members.

“To be truly inclusive, and not just say we’re inclusive and a big tent, we’ve got to show this. We’ve got to have other people in there with a voice.”

Finally, Lemon asked Babeu about the investigation surrounding allegations that he threatened to deport his boyfriend if he exposed their relationship. Says the sheriff: "I asked for this investigation and I’m fully confident that I’ll be exonerated.”

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Sheriff Paul Babeu Tells Don Lemon He Can Help 'Bridge the Chasm' in the GOP on Gay Issues: VIDEO" »


Sheriff Paul Babeu Quits Race for Congress, Seeks Reelection as Sheriff

Mentioning nothing about the scandal that he had threatened a former boyfriend with deportation if he revealed they had a romantic relationship, after which his fundraising plummeted, Pinal County, Arizona Sheriff Paul Babeu told supporters in an announcement today that he was ending his run for Congress and seeking reelection as Sheriff:

Pl_babeuFirst, let me say how much your friendship and support means to me. When I announced my candidacy for Congress, I promised the citizens of Pinal County that I would ensure continuity of leadership in the Sheriff’s Office. Chief Deputy Steve Henry’s candidacy not only ensured continuity of leadership, it also safeguarded the improved service we’ve delivered to Pinal families with the same passion and commitment since taking office.

The federal Office of Special Counsel has advised Chief Henry that because our office receives federal funds and Steve supervises those who are in control of federal funds, he is not able to run for Sheriff while serving as our Chief Deputy.

Chief Henry was left three choices, resign his position as Chief Deputy and run for Sheriff, withdraw his candidacy for Sheriff or transfer to a non-leadership position within our office where he would not supervise anybody who handles any federal funding. Forget the politics, none of these options are good to maintain continued success of our Sheriff’s Office. I have decided to end our congressional campaign and seek re-election as Pinal County Sheriff. Yesterday, I informed my campaign staff and our finance team of my decision to run for re-election.

There's more at his site.


Log Cabin Republicans Hold Fundraiser for Arizona Sheriff Paul Babeu as Campaign Contributions Dry Up

Babeu

Buzzfeed has obtained an invitation for a Log Cabin D.C. Fundraiser for Pinal County, Arizona Sheriff Paul Babeu hosted by gay former Arizona congressman Jim Kolbe this Tuesday.

Says the invite: "Simply by being who we are – unapologetically pro-gay and unapologetically conservative - Log Cabin Republicans like Sheriff Babeu are helping to secure the freedoms America stands for, and that’s something we can all be proud of."

Meanwhile, the Phoenix New Times reports that donations to Babeu's congressional campaign have collapsed since allegations broke in February that Babeu had threatened a former boyfriend with deportation if he revealed they had a romantic relationship.

Contributions to congressional hopeful Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu barely trickled in during March, with the once-popular lawman pocketing a mere $6,700 in the wake of multiple scandals that have enveloped him, his agency and his campaign. By comparison, Congressman Paul Gosar, who is also running for a seat in Arizona's Fourth Congressional District, raised $80,000 that same month.

News reports since that time also revealed that Babeu ran The DeSisto School, a Massachusetts boarding school with a history of physical and sexual abuse, such as forcing students to wear sheets, sit facing walls for hours, undergo strip searches and take group showers. Babeu's sister also claimed that she discovered Babeu dating a 17-year-old DeSisto student.

In interviews shortly after the scandal broke, Babeu indicated that he had been in contact with leadership at the Log Cabin Republicans. When asked if he might get involved with LCR by CNN's Wolf Blitzer, Babeu replied, "I'm sure".


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