Bob Taft's Hidden Desires

The untold story behind the Defense of Marriage Act.

Bob Taft and his close personal friends.
Bob Taft and his close personal friends.
Announcer: We interrupt this program for an emergency message from the governor. We now go live to Columbus.

[Scene: Bob Taft is seated at his desk in the governor's office, looking very solemn -- though he may be experiencing digestive problems.]

My fellow Ohioans. As you know, a grave threat faces our great state.

There was a time, not long ago, when we, the good people of Ohio, understood that marriage was a holy union between man and woman -- or brother and sister, in the case of Cincinnati. They would lovingly raise children, then Dad would get laid off, Mom would start drinking and take up with a man at the lumberyard named Burt, and the kids would drop out of school, rob plumbing-fixture outlets, and find themselves in the tender embrace of the Ohio penal system. It was all very wholesome and made this great state what it is today.

But now the institution of marriage is under assault. Homosexuals are rising up from the home-decorating and floral-display industries to tear the family apart. Bob Taft cannot, in good conscience, allow this to occur. That's why I signed the Defense of Marriage Act. This landmark bill will prohibit homosexuals from marrying within the great state of Ohio. It will also preclude Ohio from recognizing civil unions authorized in other states, where sodomites have taken control.

I realize this is a controversial measure. Bob Taft and his colleagues in the legislature have been accused of intolerance, of bigotry, of trying to land our own shows on Fox News. Nothing could be further from the truth.

This may surprise you, but back in the '60s, when I was an undergrad at Yale, Bob Taft was not the 170 pounds of pure chick magnet that he is today. In fact, I couldn't get a date from approximately 1959 to 1973. So my roommate Chad and I would spend our weekends in the dorm, dancing to Pat Boone's Love Letters in the Sand LP. It was all very bohemian.

Then one sultry evening, our longing, hungry eyes locked . . . Chad's nubile young body . . . his strong, firm buttocks . . . my famished heart was filled!

Regrettably, Dad got Chad a job in the State Department, which sent him to Indonesia, where he was slain by a violent Lutheran separatist movement. At least that's what Dad said when he made me marry Hope. But I will never forget those enchanted nights when Bob Taft went from boy to man.

I offer this charming anecdote to illustrate that I have experienced the thirst for another man, and that Bob Taft is not intolerant. Nor are any of my colleagues. Check out State Auditor Betty Montgomery. Does she just scream bulldyke or what? And have you ever been to one of Secretary of State Blackwell's dinner parties? Have you seen the way he fondly prepares his braised lamb? How upset he gets when you spill Chardonnay on his tastefully appointed furnishings? How he insists on being called Kenneth? My fellow Ohioans, the guy is queerer than a three-dollar bill.

No, the Defense of Marriage Act is not about bigotry. It's about protecting you, the good people of Ohio, from the temptation we in state government so often face.

Why, just last summer, Speaker Larry Householder and I were in my office, discussing the troubled state of school finance. It was late in the evening. We were well into our second bottle of merlot. Soft light glistened from the speaker's sturdy double chin. He turned to me, his eyes devouring Bob Taft the way a lion does a caribou. In one exalted moment we were tearing hungrily at each other's clothes. He drank from me, and I from him. Then we collapsed in exhausted ecstasy on the floor, and smoked cigarettes provided by a certain tobacco lobbyist named Harry, whom Bob Taft had recently met at an out-of-the-way motel in Youngstown. (Now you know why school funding never gets fixed! LOL!)

Our torrid romance raged for months. Then, late one night, after we had both spoken at a Mothers Against Drunk Driving meeting, we lay naked in an empty field outside Akron, clinging to each other. Guilt swelled inside Bob Taft. Though my devotion to Speaker Householder still burned like a violent chemical-plant fire, Bob Taft could not let it overcome his duty to the state. I was a married man, governor, scion of the Taft Dynasty. Should I let my love for Larry shine any brighter, surely I would seek to marry him and have his baby. This could never be.

Right there, in that lonely field of sorrow, we agreed to pass the Defense of Marriage Act. Perhaps we had succumbed to the tempting passion for another man, but we could not let this same fate befall our fellow Ohioans.

Bob Taft kissed Larry gently and said, "Be still, darling, for though we shall never again taste our love's sweet nectar on this earth, surely we shall paw each other like rabid beasts in another life, when our delight can soar untethered!"

Announcer: This has been an emergency message from the governor. We now return to our regular programming.