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.