John Ensign, Defender Of Marriage--Except His Own

By Bonnie Erbe, Thomas Jefferson Street blog

This is rich--another hypocritical politician. What a surprise! John Ensign's anti-gay marriage Senate career ended on Tuesday when he came out of the closet about his affair with a married campaign staffer. Apparently Sen. Ensign (R-Nev.) only went public when he discussed the affair with the staffer's husband--who also worked on his campaign--and the husband asked Sen. Ensign for a lot of money.

Sen. Ensign, while running against Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) in 1998 called on President Clinton to resign for having his affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky. One wonders whether Ensign is considering giving himself the same treatment. Of course not, at least now. But this nasty mess does seem to have knocked Sen. Ensign off the top of the list of GOP presidential nomination contenders in 2012.

This incident will also, let us hope, rob him of the credibility to campaign as a defender of marriage (against gay marriage.) ThinkProgress.org ran the following quotes from Ensign on the topic:

"I believe that marriage should be defined as that between one man and one woman. You want to do what is ideal for children and all of the studies show that the ideal for children is to be in a household with a father and a mother." [4/19/09]

NB: I know of no study that shows cheating in marriage is good for the children.

"Mr. President, I rise today to speak on a topic that is very important. That is the preservation of the most important structure in our society." [7/13/04]

The list of hypocritical politicians throughout American history is long, storied and bipartisan. The list of hypocrites who campaign against gay marriage is much shorter, but growing rapidly enough to ponder the question, who is doing the institution of marriage more harm: gays and lesbians who want in, or married heterosexual politicians who ignore their marital vows. Clearly, it is the latter.

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By Bonnie Erbe
  • CBSNews

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