A gay rights activist has accused conservatives in the US of giving national coverage to allegations a senior Republican was kicked out of the Army for homosexuality.

150,000 unsigned flyers reportedly distributed outside churches in the state last Sunday (see below) allege that Senator Mitch McConnell, who is up for re-election today, was discharged from the US military in 1967.

A story about the homophobic campaign was featured on the website of The New Republic, a leading conservative magazine.

It claims the flyers are examples of Democratic party dirty tricks.

“There really isn’t much to say about these attacks other than that they ought to put a damper on the commonly accepted narrative that it’s only conservatives who have utterly debased themselves and their brand in this election.

“These attacks on McConnell are among the most despicable smears of the 2008 elections — if not the most despicable — but something tells me that the perpetually outraged commentators bemoaning the tactics of the GOP smear machine and John McCain’s sale of his soul to it won’t let the above disrupt their storyline of liberal high-mindedness vs. the “ugly mob” that is contemporary conservatism.

“That the complaints about campaign decorum so often come from people who compare those with whom they disagree to Nazis makes their assertions all the more unserious.”

In a statement released today, gay activist Mike Rogers, the President of Proud of Who We Are, questioned the national coverage and whether conservatives may actually be behind the recent spate of nasty
McConnell flyers.

“I am surprised that The New Republic would elevate an unsigned campaign flyer and a little-heard Kentucky radio ad – both of which attack Mitch McConnell for not releasing his military record – by placing them on
their well-known national website.

The New Republic gave this story legs longer than Lincoln’s.

“I now am left to wonder whether it was conservatives who were responsible for this flyer in the first place? After all, conservatives have used this ‘outing’ tactic with great success for over 200 years to mislead their way into office.

“I’m not sure if the conservative community is hoping for a backlash on the messaging or if they are covering themselves journalistically if news breaks about McConnell, but this behaviour from The New Republic should be roundly criticised.

“The McConnell flyer continues the tradition of Republicans throwing those even suspected of being closeted and gay under the bus. Look no further than Larry Craig to understand what disdain conservatives have for leaders who are ‘allegedly’ closeted.”

Senator McConnell was first elected in 1984 and as Minority Leader the most powerful Republican in the Senate.

He is married to US Secretary of Labour Elaine Chao and has three children from a previous marriage.

According to his biography, “months prior to finishing law school, McConnell enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserve.

“Shortly after his induction into the military, McConnell was diagnosed with optic neuritis. He was released an honorable discharge for medical reasons.”

Senator Larry Craig from Idaho has decided to stand down after his conviction for disorderly conduct in an airport toilet.

In February the US Senate Ethics Committee criticised Senator Craig over the incident which led to him being arrested for cruising, but decided to take no further action against him.

The Republican, who married with three children, denies he is gay.

He was arrested on June 11th 2007 by an undercover police officer in a Minneapolis airport toilet.

He said the lawmaker had engaged in conduct “often used by persons communicating a desire to engage in sexual conduct.”

Minutes after his arrest for lewd conduct, Craig, 62, denied soliciting for sex, saying “I’m not gay. I don’t do these kinds of things.”