On Monday, Representative Edward Schrock, a Virginia Republican, announced that he would not run for a third House term because of allegations that he is gay. Although Schrock did not directly address the allegations in the written statement that announced his retirement, he did say that “In recent weeks, allegations have surfaced that have called into question my ability to represent the citizens of Virginia’s Second Congressional District.”
“After much thought and prayer, I have come to the realization that these allegations will not allow my campaign to focus on the real issues facing our nation and region,” Schrock went on to say in the statement.
The allegations Schrock referred to – that he had for years arranged for sexual encounters with other men through a telephone service – were posted by gay activist Mike Rogers on his Web site, on August 19, in which Rogers alleged that the congressman had sought sex with men through the Megaphone/Megamates Line.
On August 22 Rogers also posted a link to a recording, he claims is Schrock leaving a message on the Megaphone Line service. On the recording, a man’s voice describes the sexual acts he will perform with another man.
For several months Rogers has been publicizing the names of politicians and congressional staffers he alleges are gay and who support what he calls anti-gay legislation. He says his intention is to expose what he calls hypocrites enjoying the gay community’s anonymity, yet attempting to destroy gay rights. He has also placed phone calls to their offices so he could directly confront them.
Rogers says the Republican-led efforts to pass the Federal Marriage Amendment (FMA) have motivated him to act. The FMA would ban gay marriage in the United States, and the way sexual orientation was being exploited as an issue to gain support among conservative voters for the upcoming general elections outraged Rogers.
In an interview, Rogers said he was very disappointed that Schrock was stepping down. “We have lost a potentially powerful ally,” Rogers said. He said he wished Schrock would remain in office and fight for the rights of his community. “It’s too bad he has to resign because he’s gay,” Rogers said.
Regarding the authenticity of the recording, Rogers said that Schrock’s silence proves it is genuine. “You’d think that if it wasn’t him [Schrock], he would have said so,” Rogers said.
Schrock, 63, is married and has a grown son. A Vietnam veteran, he retired from the Navy in 1988, and successfully ran for Congress in 1996. He is a member of the House’s influential Armed Services Committee. He represents a conservative part of Virginia that includes Virginia Beach and parts of Norfolk.
According to the Virginia-Pilot, Schrock ran on a re-election platform in 2000 that included repealing President Clinton’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy on gays in the military and re-instituting the ban on gays in the armed forces.
This past year Schrock voted in favor of the Marriage Protection Act following the FMA’s defeat in the Senate. Referred to by its opponents as a “ court-stripping bill” the new House legislation seeks to strip all federal courts, including the Supreme Court, of the power to determine the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Schrock has also co-sponsored the House version of the Federal Marriage Amendment.
Although Schrock is not the first lawmaker Rogers has claimed was gay, he is the first to resign over the allegations. Neither Schrock nor his office could be reached for comment by press time.
The Virginia Republican Committee has until 5 p.m. Friday to select a replacement nominee for the upcoming election. Political observers expected Schrock to easily win in the upcoming race against Democrat David B. Ashe, a retired Marine.