Minnesota Representative Kerry Gauthier has stated that he will be dropping his bid for reelection to the Minnesota House after his sexual encounter with a 17-year-old male became public knowledge. While no laws were broken and the young man was over the age of consent, the scandal has created a huge burden on the Democrats and on Gauthier who was pressured by the party leadership to withdraw from the race.
He stated “I changed my mind. Too much. It’s just too much.” Gauthier did try to commit suicide last week after the encounter became public knowledge. He took an overdose of muscle relaxants.
State election officials have stated that Gauthier cannot be replaced on the ballot, but Democrats are already looking at legal avenues to replace Gauthier, including a coordinated write-in candidate.
Among those who pressured Gauthier was Governor Mark Dayton who stated “I think it’s just something that goes beyond the morals of Minnesotans – to solicit on Craigslist sex with a minor and do it in a public area, publicly owned area, as a state legislator, and come back to the parking lot with his clothes disheveled. It’s not about whether it’s a same-sex or a heterosexual act. It would be the same if it were the same circumstances involving a heterosexual individual.”
Technically, this is a mischaracterization since the young man in question was 17, which is over the age of consent. Legally, the young man is not considered a minor by law with regards to sexual acts. However, the decision to have a ‘no strings attached’ sexual encounter at a public rest stop has been the biggest sticking point for a lot of people who have wondered what this man was thinking.
Gauthier, who admitted to being gay, did apologize stating at an earlier date “I am sorry for the hurt this has caused my family, friends and my constituents. I know I made a mistake and am determined to make amends as best I can.” He made it clear that the shame he has felt as a gay man caused him to act in this manner and stated “I can change my behavior, but I cannot change the fact that I am a gay man, and have known this since my college days. I simply must act like a mature gay man would act, and not as the incident portrays me.”
The fact that Gauthier underlines the very dangerous nature of shaming people who are lesbian and gay into risky and idiotic behaviors has not been lost on the LGBT Community.