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Ex-GOP Hopeful Huffington Says He Is a Homosexual

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Michael Huffington, who spent $28 million in his nearly successful campaign to unseat Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) four years ago, is now acknowledging that he is a homosexual and dated men as early as the 1970s.

Huffington, 51, who divorced his wife, columnist Arianna Huffington, last year, told writer David Brock in an interview published in the January issue of Esquire magazine that it took a long time for him to realize the truth about his sexuality.

“I know now that my sexuality is part of who I am,” Huffington is quoted as saying. “I’ve been through a long process of finding out the truth about me.”

In Los Angeles, Arianna Huffington issued this brief statement Saturday: “I wish Michael well, and all that matters to me is that he’s a good father to our daughters.”

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She indicated that she had discussed the matter with her former husband of 11 years and said he had told her he would be issuing no immediate further statements about the issue beyond what he told Brock in more than 20 hours of interviews.

In his article, Brock, who struggled with his own decision four years ago to divulge his homosexuality, said Huffington broached the subject of his own sexual orientation in a meeting with the writer on Memorial Day and later suggested that a magazine article be done.

The interviews Huffington gave were “extremely difficult and painful” for the former politician, Brock wrote. Yet, he concluded, “Michael Huffington wants you to know that he’s happy now. Really, really happy. He’s become Greek Orthodox. He’s selling his film production company. Not really cut out for it.”

Also, Huffington confesses that he never really believed he was made for the oil business. It was while in that industry in Houston in the 1970s that he began to date men, he said, although he said he did not go to gay bars.

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The article reports that Huffington has now begun to date men again after a long period of not doing so. But it also says the former congressman and oil tycoon draws a distinction between gay and homosexual.

“He doesn’t seem gay to himself,” Brock writes. “Gay means so much more, carries so much cultural baggage, and he’s not that. The word ‘gay’ just doesn’t describe him. It really doesn’t.

“But he is homosexual. It wasn’t a choice. It can’t be changed. Lord knows, he tried.”

In the article, “The Strange Odyssey of Michael Huffington,” Brock also reports that Huffington is not sure he’s a Republican anymore and may be a Democrat.

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The Washington Post reported Oct. 30 that Huffington recently gave $140,000 to USC’s Annenberg School of Communications for the formation and teaching of undergraduate and graduate courses on sensitivity in reporting issues of sexual orientation.

A USC spokesman, Eric Mankin, said Saturday that the courses will be taught by Leroy Aarons, a former managing editor of the Oakland Tribune who founded the National Lesbian ad Gay Journalists Assn. The courses will begin in the fall of 1999.

During Huffington’s bitter campaign against Feinstein, rumors circulated in political circles that Huffington was gay, but they never reached the public.

Huffington also served one term in Congress representing Santa Barbara County, but Brock’s article reports that he found the work boring and realized he wasn’t a politician. Yet he still decided to run for the U.S. Senate.

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Huffington was one of the few Republicans in Congress to support allowing gays in the military. But he voted against some gay rights legislation and did not win high marks from gay and lesbian groups.

Brock is known for his “Troopergate” report on President Clinton, for which he has apologized to the president.


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