Anti-Gay Marriage Sen. John Ensign Not Doing Great Upholding Sanctity of Straight Marriage


We don’t know the life of Nevada Sen. John Ensign. We don’t know the specifics of why he separated from his wife Darlene, or how he decided to take up with a campaign staffer during the split, or why he’s coming forward about the affair now (blackmail, suggests Politico). It’s an unfortunate personal saga that’s being played out publicly in the media — AS IT SHOULD.

Because while most folks are entitled to some privacy in their marriages, Sen. Ensign voluntarily abandoned that right the moment he voted for a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage in June 2006 and followed it up two years later by violating his own union.

You see, Ensign is one of those folks who believes in the sanctity of traditional marriage … something he obviously felt A-okay about violating when he had an affair. In 2004, he published a release titled “ENSIGN DEFENDS SANCTITY OF MARRIAGE ON SENATE FLOOR,” where he “took to the floor of the United States Senate today to defend the sanctity of marriage and urge passage of the Federal Marriage Amendment Act.” He told fellow senators, “Marriage is the cornerstone on which our society was founded. For those who say that the Constitution is so sacred that we cannot or should not adopt the Federal Marriage Amendment, I would simply point out that marriage, and the sanctity of that institution, predates the American Constitution and the founding of our nation. Marriage, as a social institution, predates every other institution on which ordered society in America has relied. […] It is not right to mold marriage to fit the desires of a few, against the wishes of so many, and to ignore the important role of marriage.”

So while we feel for his wife and kids, we’re absolutely fine with seeing Ensign dragged through the mud on this.

If he uses his political clout and Senate vote to deny us the right of marriage that he, as a straight person, gets to so flippantly exercise, then he’s just as bad as a gay legislator voting against gay rights. (Need more reason to criticize Ensign? He voted against adding sexual orientation to hate crimes protections.)

Given Ensign’s proclivity for moral missteps, it’s no wonder he was against an ethics investigation into colleague Larry Craig — and yet he was all for Craig resigning. Some things hit too close to home, huh John?

Ensign, who had his sights potentially set on a 2012 GOP run for president, plans to keep his U.S. Senate seat. Hetero sex scandals aren’t as damaging, apparently.

Get Queerty Daily

Subscribe to Queerty for a daily dose of #johnensign #marriage #nevada stories and more


  • schlukitz


    Oh, and did I mention Hypocrite?

  • geoff

    Sucks to be him. People who live in glass whorehouses shouldn’t throw stones,as the saying goes. What a great defender of the sanctity of marriage he is.

  • John

    As a Nevada resident it makes me sick..

    Your article didn’t mention how are Gov Jom Gibbons who veto’d a simple domestic partner bill is entangled in the nastiest divorce in recent history.

    Shame on Ensign and Gibbons and the people of Nevada.

  • StillWaiting

    Yeap… another one from Hypocritpolis… should be emasculated.

  • GayGOP

    Good, it is, to hear that Sen. Ensign is being exposed for the hypocrite he is. May I suggest that all hypocrites be exposed this publicly. As well, may I suggest that Barney Frank, Tammy Baldwin, and Jared Polis begin the process to Amend the United States Constitution to ban no-fault divorce, AS IT SHOULD BE. That would teach the hetero population what it’s like to have their rights deprived.

  • AlwaysGay

    What does this mean for the sancity of heterosexual-only marriage? We are in a moral emergency. AAAAUUUUHHHH!!!!

    In reality heterosexuals don’t care because he’s heterosexual. He’ll get away with this just like David “Diapers” Vitter did at the same time Larry Craig had his scandal.

  • dgz

    you have to screw around to make it into the senate right? isn’t that a rule?

  • wunderlusting

    chickens coming home to roost. gotta love hypocrites! sanctity of marriage, my ass.

  • alan brickman

    why is this a surprise again??

  • Fitz

    You give them enough rope and they hang themselves.

  • jason

    John Ensign is your typical conservative hypocrite.

  • ryan

    He also called for Pres. Clinton to resign over his affair with Monica Lewinsky.

  • Rudy

    I believe in protecting traditional adultery.

  • jim phelan

    LOLOL! What goes around comes around Mr. Ensign. Sucks to be you. May the fleas of a thousand camels nestle in the crack of your posterior.

  • Robert, NYC

    What an excellent display of hypocrisy! This is just one more brilliant example of just exactly who threatens marriage, STRAIGHT philanderers on both sides of the aisle. Why aren’t their religious cults slamming them, the same cults that slam us at every provocation? They’ve lost the “moral” argument to ban marriage equality.

  • galefan2004

    I don’t feel for his wife and kids. She married the bigoted asshole. Bigoted assholes that seem to champion traditional marriage in the legislature almost all end up cheating on their wives (or at least it seems that way). I don’t feel sorry for his kids because mommy and daddy probably brain washed them to believe exactly the way they did with the help of their religious organization. Adultery, the fact that 50% of marriages (or more) end in divorce, and the fact that you can get married in 5 minutes in a drivethru in Vegas destroyed the “sanctity of marriage” more than 30 years ago.

  • Robert, NYC


    This ass wipe also belongs to a “christian” group that advocates that all men should stand up and do the right thing, whatever that means. I hope we see more of this to discredit the right wing christo hypocrites and bigots.

  • galefan2004

    @Robert, NYC: This isn’t the first blight on the “christians” and it will not be the last. The church itself is changing. People are leaving it in droves and the churches that are left are converting to “jesus based ministry” in order to try to get members back. That means they are switching from burn in hell to love thy neighbor because their stupidity screwed this country over so badly that people are starting to prefer hell to this country. Also, its hard to keep a lunatic religious fringe movement going when most people are educated outside of religious “universities”. Thank GW for one thing, he gave the Republicans and the right wing nuts such a black eye that they will never truly recover from it. In typical fashion, the Democrats were called in to clean up the GW mess and are being blamed for not doing it fast enough.

  • Andrew

    And, as is always the case….. the dopey American general public, with its lack of memory or care for history, will forget about this in six months and consider him an upstanding man who supports the sacredness of “traditional marriage.”

  • Andrew

    P.S. And his bullshit Christian group will just pray over him and lay hands on him and, poof, he’ll magically return to being a mountain of support for the sacred institution of marriage… [Jesus wept]

  • Cam

    Can we just assume by this point that anybody who is rabidly opposed to gay rights is either a closet case or cheats on their spouse?

    Judges, can I get a ruling on that proposal?

  • Robert, NYC


    Gale, I hope we see a lot more of these “blights” on the political landscape, it will only weaken their argument against full equality and it already is. They know it because we’re seeing a lot more of them trying to stop legislation from being enacted. They also know they are losing the cultural war. Still in all, had it not been for the economic crisis and other equally important issues, I really don’t believe Obama would have acted any differently. Take the recent DOJ decision comparing our relationships to incest….you can bet that he’ll claim he had no knowledge of the wording under Eric Holder’s watch, someone who should have known better. This decision has only galvanized the right wing anti marriage equality wingnuts. Its unforgiveable and many of us won’t forget it next time we vote. Why did the decision have to include such ugly smears about us? These people call themselves “christians”, Obama included?

  • schlukitz

    @jim phelan:

    I am still ROTF over your euphemism. It was priceless.

    I am reminded of the one Johnny Carson used to use with Ed McMahon on the Tonight Show, which I also thought was hysterical.

    “May the waters of the Marakesh back-up in your jockey shorts”

  • Kenneth Edmonds

    I’m shocked, SHOCKED by the comments I’ve seen so far. Can’t you people understand that he was NOT having an affair, but a private thank you for a hard-working constituent/employee who’s only intent was to go that “extra mile” for her representative.

    This type of reward for a hard-working employee is just the type of the gratitude that Republicans do. Tell me, what is so wrong with a little sex with a friends wife, when he was simply showing his gratitude.

    The great thing about this is that he “kept it among friends.” Isn’t that what a “friend” is supposed to do? Isn’t he supposed to thank an employee to the best of his abilities?

    I hope this sets the record straight.

  • RichardR

    Regarding Sen. Ensign’s presidtial ambitions, Rachel last night suggested that he and Sen Vitter head up the republican’s presidential ticket in 2012. President of what, exactly, it’s not clear.

  • RichardR

    -presidential- sorry, I’m so amused with all this I forgot to spellcheck.

  • Andrew

    @Kenneth Edmonds:
    Please accept our apologies. I, for one, will now go into my prayer-closet and repent via harsh self-loathing and repeated self-flagellation. [now if could only find my bull-whip] :o

  • Rachel M

    What is with these politicians who think that they can get away from anything? They are jerks and slime balls. Even though he was separated from his wife, he and the woman that he had the affair with they were both married. The usual thing is what happened in this case is the spouse does return to their spouse and someone gets hurt. The person in a marriage usually blames the other person when the fault lies on the spouse.

  • david

    Ha Ha

  • Godfrey

    How can he sleep at night? What is the big deal with same-sex marriages; that is the path they have chosen, so let them follow it. Why do we need to ruin other human beings dreams because of ridiculous and hypocritical beliefs?

  • schlukitz


    Agreed. And when was it decided that the law of the land should be based on the President’s personal beliefs?

    This is Democratic?

  • Robert, NYC

    @Rachel M:

    Rachel, and many in the christo fascist right wing actually blame us for the straight divorce rate because some states are legislating for marriage equality, go figure. They also blame us for Katrina, 9/11, problems in the middle east, you name it, we’re the scapegoat.

  • Robert, NYC


    Godfrey, the reason for all this is that religion is at the core of it. People like Ensign, in fact the bulk of the GOP and to some extent the Democrats, including Obama, are beholden to the religious right for votes. Their votes are a lot more important than us because they outnumber us and they donate more. Its a multi million dollar industry, just like a lot of other businesses, except the religious cults get some freebies, such as not paying any taxes. Something that needs to be looked at if you ask me. That’s why more than anything else Proposition 8 passed. We can expect more of them coming our way make no mistake about that. They are currently at work in Maine and New York now doing their dirty work and in New York with the collaboration primarily of the roman cult.

    Speaking of New York, Gov. Paterson has taken the marriage equality vote this month off the table as a bargaining tool to get the senate to get other state business accomplished during an emergency session this week.

  • schlukitz

    @Robert, NYC:

    such as not paying any taxes. Something that needs to be looked at if you ask me

    Robert, this is one if not the most maddening aspects of the ongoing attacks against the LGBT community; the fact that our gay tax dollars are being used to subsidize a horrible campaign of bigotry, hatred and discrimination against us.

    They have used that money to buy the politicians who in turn, support the dirty work of the religious right by passing legislation against us.

    And then we get all these goody-goody, two-shoes, self-loathing gays who lecture the more militant of us about how we must show “respect” to these people and “reach out” to them so that we can win their hearts and minds, one at a time. It’s so reminiscent of the Jews who kissed the ass of Hitler and did horrible things to their own people in the mistaken belief that it would save their own lives.

    Meh! It’s enough to make one vomit.

  • Robert, NYC


    I hear you only too well. I really do think that we as a powerful voting bloc should bring up tax-exempt status as a talking point, not necessarily as a threat, but to send a message to the cults who plot against us a dose of their own medicine. Had that been part of the discussion before Prop 8 had passed, it might have given the Mormons, the largest religious donor cult pause before spending $22 million tax-free dollars to discriminate against us. The Roman cult was another, its fraternal lodge called the Knights of Columbus donated more than $1 million, again claiming tax-exempt status as a religious-based group, ditto the evangelical cults. Another thing, they blatantly admonish their adherents to vote a certain way….illegal and a violation of their tax-exempt status, they even lie about that too. What galls me even more is that it IS oddly legal for them to lobby for hate discrimination. They’ll claim of course that its not about hate, but the love the sinner hate the sin excuse. To me, it seems that religion gets a free pass and more protections and laws than the rest of us. In a democracy, NOBODY should be above the law nor should anyone be tax-exempt when interfering in the political process. They should forfeit that right when they don’t pay their fair share like the rest of us.

    The problem right now is….NO politician worth his or her salt would dare go down that road to take them on, rather odd for a country that claims no state religion, yet politicians live in fear of the religious right, they’d rather throw us to the lions than take a decent stand and do what is right as Prime Minister Zapatero of Spain did. We don’t have anyone of that caliber in American politics with perhaps the exception of Dennis Kucinich. We’ve always been expendable, the scapegoats du jour, that will never change. Obama is hardly the harbinger of change either.

  • schlukitz

    @Robert, NYC:

    Ah Yes. Prime Minister Zapetero. My hero, if ever there was a hero.

    How interesting that the politicians in Europe have the balls to go up against Ratzi the Nazi. Would that a few of our own politicians could grow a set and do the same.

    I could not agree more with your various thoughts and commentaries. We are of one mind.

    Come have a seat next to me so we can bang our heads on the typewriter keyboard together. ;o)

  • Robert, NYC


    Yes, it does seem as if we are of one mind. I just wish we had a highly polished gay leader representing us across the board, someone who could hold his or her own on the equality debate. We have far too many groups and no national agenda. Most of them currently concede to political correctness and accept whatever is thrown them so as not to be seen rocking the boat. The problem with our side is, we’re too nice about it. The other side sees that weakness and exploits it because we allow them to. We need a tough, no-nonsense talker to represent us.

  • schlukitz

    @Robert, NYC:

    Yeah, being the nice guy might make one popular, but it doesn’t always get you where you want to go.

    As Theodore Roosevelt so aptly said, ‘I have always been fond of the West African proverb: “Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far.” ‘ ” ;o)

Comments are closed.