Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The Vitter Amendment

Louisiana Senator David Vitter has come clean about once having been a client of a Washington D.C. escort service:

"This was a very serious sin in my past for which I am, of course, completely responsible," Vitter said Monday in a printed statement. "Several years ago, I asked for and received forgiveness from God and my wife in confession and marriage counseling. Out of respect for my family, I will keep my discussion of the matter there _ with God and them. But I certainly offer my deep and sincere apologies to all I have disappointed and let down in any way."

I don't usually write about politicians' private lives or family members as those are none of my business. So why the deviation from that rule in this post? Because of the policies Senator Vitter has supported. He is a fervent defender of the traditional marriage and also an advocate of abstinence-only policies. Indeed, his homepage states:

U.S. Sen. David Vitter last week authored a letter to the chairman and ranking member of the U.S. Senate Finance Committee expressing support for reauthorization of the Title V Abstinence Education Program of the Social Security Act.

Taken together, Vitter's support for abstinence outside marriage and his defense of the traditional heterosexual marriage might mean that gays and lesbians in his ideal world would have to practice life-long celibacy. To expect that of others and yet to fail (most likely more than once) with the much smaller challenge of marital fidelity makes Vitter into either a hypocrite or an unrealistic policy-maker. Or both.