Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) has denied rumors circulated by anti-immigration activists in South Carolina that he is a homosexual, telling The New York Times unequivocally that he is not.
In April, William Gheen of Americans for Legal Immigration PAC (ALIPAC)
theorized that Graham's support for immigration reform is the result of threats by liberals to expose his sexuality. "I hope this secret isn't being used as leveraged against him," Gheen said at a Tea Party rally
in Greenville, S.C. "It's time for you to come out of the closet, Lindsey."
But in an interview with Robert Draper that will appear in Sunday's New York Times magazine
, Draper writes that Graham, who has never married, "smirked" when asked about the rumors.
"Like maybe I'm having a clandestine affair with Ricky Martin?" Graham, 54, responds. "I know it's really gonna upset a lot of gay men -- I'm sure hundreds of 'em are gonna be jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge -- but I ain't available. I ain't gay. Sorry."
The article itself is a lengthy profile of Graham. Draper dubs him, "This Year's Maverick," because of the numerous stands he has taken since President Obama took office in 2009, including his support for closing the prison at Guantanamo Bay, for comprehensive immigration reform, and for climate change legislation. Graham has backed off his support for the latter two issues, telling Draper neither will pass Congress in 2010.
In terms of his personal likes and dislikes, readers learn that Graham has a fondness for Chick-fil-A and almond schnapps, and has never owned a BlackBerry.
Perhaps most surprising of all, the new maverick predicts the swift demise of the Tea Party phenomenon and the protesters who have attacked him relentlessly in his home state since the nascent movement formed.
"The problem with the Tea Party, I think it's just unsustainable because they can never come up with a coherent vision for governing the country," Graham says. "It will die out."