UPDATED: In Wake of Scandalous Resignation, Puerto Rico Senator’s Homophobic Legacy Lives On
Last week Republican Puerto Rican Senator Roberto Arango became embroiled in a public scandal when images of a shirtless man who appeared to be him were leaked to the press.
The images were from the gay dating phone app Grindr, which was a tad curious considering Arango’s public image was that of a divorced heterosexual man who was raising a daughter. The Senator was also known for voting in favor of several anti-gay bills.
Initially, Arango scoffed at suggestions that he was the man in the images. Then he admitted he often took photos of himself shirtless to document a weight-loss regimen but didn’t remember taking those specific images. When more explicit images leaked out, the Senator stopped talking to media altogether.
Yesterday, he resigned from the Senate.
Not surprisingly, you could read the list of his positions and statements and he would fit in well with the Tea Party / Religious Right crowd.
Against Civil Unions… Check
In early 2007 reports emerged that a legislative commission studying changes to Puerto Rico’s Civil Code was considering allowing civil unions for all couples regardless of sexual orientation. Conservative religious organizations were outraged and warned that civil unions would weaken marriage and change the family structure. They mounted a campaign against the measure and Senator Arango served as their messenger in the legislature.
Against Same Sex Couples Adopting… Check
In September of 2009, Senator Kimmey Raschke managed to sneak in a bill banning adoption rights for gays by keeping the language of the bill under wraps until the last day of the legislative session. Arango, a close ally of Raschke, defended the secrecy behind the bill and assured reporters that it would be brought to the Senate floor. From “La adopción en el menú del dia / Adoption on the day’s menu” (El Nuevo Dia, September 25, 2009) :
Outlandish Behavior and statements… you betcha!
The allegation that had been the toughest to confirm over the weekend were reports that during his first senate election campaign, Arango had held a rubber duck at a public campaign stop and mocked an opponent’s sexuality by making quaking noises and calling him a “pato” [“Pato”, the Spanish word for “duck”, is used in the island as a pejorative word for gays, akin to calling someone a “faggot” in English].
Lucky for us, today’s print issue Primera Hora includes it in a chronology of the Senator’s career and even provides a photo.
Much more at the article… it’s well documented and well written.
Color me Surprised by all of this.