Posted: Aug 28, 2007 5:12 pm
-- A Republican senator says he regrets pleading guilty this month to a misdemeanor disorderly conduct charge after his arrest in a public restroom.
Sen. Larry Craig of Idaho was apprehended June 11 by a plainclothes police officer investigating complaints of lewd behavior in a men's room at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport in Minnesota.
The arresting officer alleged that Craig lingered outside a restroom stall where the officer was sitting, then entered the stall next door and blocked the door with his luggage.
According to the arrest report, Craig tapped his right foot, which the officer said he recognized "as a signal used by persons wishing to engage in lewd conduct."
The report alleges Craig then touched the officer's foot with his foot and the senator "proceeded to swipe his hand under the stall divider several times."
At that point, the officer said he put his police identification down by the floor so Craig could see it and informed the senator that he was under arrest, before any sexual contact took place.
Idaho's senior senator is married with three grown children and nine grandchildren. A former rancher, Craig was first elected to the Senate in 1990 after serving a decade in the House of Representatives. His seat is up for re-election in 2008.
He has supported a federal constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, telling his colleagues that it was "important for us to stand up now and protect traditional marriage, which is under attack by a few unelected judges and litigious activists."
In 1996, Craig also voted in favor of the Defense of Marriage Act, which denies federal recognition to same-sex marriages and prevents states from being forced to recognize the marriages of gay and lesbian couples legally performed in other states.
Craig also has opposed expanding the federal hate crimes law to cover offenses motivated by anti-gay bias and, in 1996, voted against a bill that would have outlawed employment discrimination based on sexual orientation, which failed by a single vote in the Senate.