August 27, 2007

By now the news that Senator Larry Craig (R-Idaho) was arrested for “lewd conduct” at the Minneapolis airport rest room—thereby carrying on a long tradition of ostensibly anti-gay, pro-“family values” Republicans caught with their pants down—is all over the place. But what, exactly, is he accused of doing, specifically?

The Senator pleaded guilty to the charges, but now says that “in retrospect” he wasn’t guilty, didn’t do anything wrong, and is denying everything. Not very convincing, but here is an account that raises the question of what, if anything, did he actually do that was “lewd”?:

“At 1216 hours, Craig tapped his right foot. I recognized this as a signal used by persons wishing to engage in lewd conduct. Craig tapped his toes several times and moves his foot closer to my foot. I moved my foot up and down slowly. While this was occurring, the male in the stall to my right was still present. I could hear several unknown persons in the restroom that appeared to use the restroom for its intended use. The presence of others did not seem to deter Craig as he moved his right foot so that it touched the side of my left foot which was within my stall area,”€ the report states.

“Craig then proceeded to swipe his hand under the stall divider several times, and Karsnia noted in his report that “€œI could … see Craig had a gold ring on his ring finger as his hand was on my side of the stall divider.”€

“Karsnia then held his police identification down by the floor so that Craig could see it.”

Okay, so Craig was “cruising,” as they say, but what, exactly, did he actually do that was illegal? Tapping his foot? That’s illegal in Minneapolis? Craig says he touched the cop’s foot by accident, and admits to nothing. Having read up on this “cruising” business, I can tell you that he was definitely giving the signal, as the cop put it, but, then again, he didn’t actually commit a public sex act—only indicated (nonverbally) his willingness to do so. If that’s a crime, then half the population of the US ought to be in jail—except, perhaps, in Idaho.


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