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February 19, 2012

Not Quite The Same Ol', Same Ol'

Sheriff Paul Babeu
This is Sheriff Paul Babeu
of Pinal County, Arizona. He's running for Congress as a conservative Republican - so conservative that he got to make a speech at the recent CPAC convention. He was born in 1969 in North Adams, Massachusetts - in a family with 10 siblings. His Wikipedia bio. He has said he was molested for several years as a child by his Roman Catholic priest. At age 18 he was elected to the city council of North Adams after campaigning against a proposed pay raise for council members. He joined the Massachusetts National Guard at age 21. Did a tour in Iraq and then was deployed to Arizona where he was a commander of Operation Jump Start which put National Guard troops on the U.S.-Mexican border. In 2002 he began working as a police officer in Chandler, Arizona. He was elected the first Republican Sheriff in Pinal County since the county was founded in 1875. His record as Sheriff seems to have been exemplary - higher employee standards. 40% reduction in response times, removed speed cameras. He's involved with the American Legion and the VFW.

In 2008 he participated in this campaign video for John McCain.

He became the Arizona co-chair of the Romney For President campaign.

Which brings us up to this past week when Sheriff Babeu was outed by his possibly illegal alien Mexican ex-boyfriend. There's a good deal of he-said, he-said in the story. Hearts were broken. Had the boyfriend's visa actually expired? We don't know. Had Babeu really threatened to have him deported? Not clear. Both sides have attorneys. One thing that is clear is that Babeu is gay. He did quickly acknowledge that publicly. He had been very active on Adam4Adam. The ex had threatened to use that against him...and here we are today.

He has stepped aside from the Romney campaign.

Gay people were barred from CPAC - or at least openly gay people - so I'm sure they will be looking to tighten their homosexual screening screws.

Photos of Babeau and his ex, who is known only as "Jose" and whose face is blurred in the photos, can be seen here. Jose was a good archivist and retained his iPhone texts with Babeu. In one of them Jose is clearly jealous that Babeu is spending the night at the home of Congressman Jim Kolbe who is Republican and gay and conservative, and as far as I can determine, did not get to speak at CPAC.

The one significant thing that sets this story apart from that seemingly endless list of stories of outed conservative Republican gay men is that Sheriff Babeu did not seem to use his office to practice homophobia. Of course, not being in a legislative seat meant he never got to vote on something like DOMA or Don't Ask/Don't Tell or gay marriage. But so far (and it's been a couple of days) no stories of gay beatings or anti-gay discrimination in the Sheriff's office have emerged.

Filed under Gay Issues | permalink | February 19, 2012 at 08:25 AM

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