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Hannity goes for Brokeback

HAVE I EVER wondered what a wonderful world it would be if only my fans could get together, talk about how great I am and fall in love over their joint love for me? Sure, but unlike Fox News commentator Sean Hannity, I haven’t done anything about it. At Hannity.com, in addition to enjoying the book club (Newt Gingrich, Jeff Foxworthy), song club (Charlie Daniels Band, Martina McBride), photos (Hannity’s Insanity in Phoenix) and comic books (“Liberality for All” is set in 2021 and has a bionic Hannity, G. Gordon Liddy, Oliver North and a man born on Sept. 11, 2001, fighting to save a U.S. controlled by the U.N., including Ambassador Osama bin Laden), visitors can log on to Hannidate.

Conservatives need late-night, out-of-town hookups just as much as liberals. They also, it seems, need some hot man-on-man action. If you pull down the menu on Hannidate, you can select “I am a male, seeking a male.” This was surprising because not even eHarmony allows same-sex pairings. Stranger still for a Fox News commentator’s site, you can select ZIP Codes in Beverly Hills, Provincetown and San Francisco.

Figuring this was an embarrassing oversight by the Hannity.com administrator who must have bought the dating service software from some liberal company, I immediately contacted Hannity, hoping he’d panic and cry and possibly use his bionic powers. But it turns out Hannity was well aware of the gay Hannidate feature and is fine with it. “Hannidate is open to everyone,” he informed me. “Even lonely L.A. Times reporters.” He may be soft on gays, but Hannity can still hit a lonely, empty-desked, downsizing liberal newspaper where it hurts.

I found 21 gay profiles, a full 11 of which I thought were real (though I’d like to believe that the guy called “Seeking Fellow Cowboy Fans,” who wants to get “back to my favorite mountain” and needs “help herding sheep,” is totally legit). I called Michael Burke, 31, a New York restaurant general manager “looking for a normal guy.” A normal guy, that is, who thinks he can meet hot gay men on Sean Hannity’s website. Burke, who found Barry Goldwater’s “The Conscience of a Conservative” at the library when he was 12 and voted for President Bush twice, loves Broadway musicals, Michigan State football, swing bands, Civil War books and Margaret Thatcher.

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“It would be neat if I found somebody that had similar interests,” he said. A longtime Hannity listener, Burke said he heard about Hannidate on the radio and figured he’d check to see if there was a same-sex option. Hannity, it turns out, is against same-sex marriage but is pretty libertarian on gay relationships, often standing up to gay bashers on his show and putting gay former New Jersey Gov. Jim McGreevey’s book on his book club list. In fact, Burke said he’s seen very little homophobia from Republicans who aren’t Christian fundamentalists. And he points out that among all the presidential front-runners, Rudy Giuliani is the most gay friendly. Especially since he lost the comb-over.

“Because I’m gay and do favor legalization of gay marriage doesn’t mean I feel a certain way about the war on terror or taxes,” Burke said. He has no interest in being a one-issue voter in Democratic primaries or joining the Log Cabin Republicans, whom he finds too left-leaning. And, I’m guessing, kind of dorky. More important, he thinks a gay guy with Hannity’s social values might be a better fit than the guys he meets at bars. “A lot of people are looking to party and have a fun time instead of looking for a relationship. Politics aside, I was looking for someone who is a little more conservative in his lifestyle.”

After years of red versus blue, it’s easy to forget how personal politics are. And that people are closer to the center than you might think, regardless of sexuality or ability to muffle Alan Colmes. I hope Burke finds the love of his life on Hannidate and that one day they can get married. Because I want to see a wedding with Broadway tunes and a Margaret Thatcher impersonator. I just hope Eddie Izzard’s booking fees are reasonable.

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jstein@latimescolumnists.com


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