Congressional Page Scandal Pt. 2: Gerry Studds

Like Dan Crane, Democrat Gerry Studds, was also censured by the House in 1983 for having sex with a teenage congressional page.

Congressional Page Scandal Pt. 2: Gerry Studds Gerry Studds (AP Photo)
But in an unexpected twist, the unmarried Studds turned the moment to his advantage and continued to be reelected until his retirement in 1997.

When the House Ethics Committee found that Studds had carried on a brief affair with a 17-year-old male congressional page in 1973, the congressman was reluctant to give up his right to a public hearing. He did so only to protect the privacy of his former lover, who had testified that he bore no ill will toward Studds.

When Studds was censured before the House, he made the most of the moment by unapologetically coming out, making him the first openly gay member of congress.

"It is not a simple task for any of us to meet adequately the obligations of either public or private life," Studds said. "But these challenges are made substantially more complex when one is, as am I, both an elected public official and gay."

Following his revelation and reelection, Studds became one of the foremost leaders in gay rights activism. He took up the fight for AIDS research funding, and the inclusion of gays in the military. Upon the 2004 legalization of same-sex marriage in Massachusetts, Studds married long-time partner Dean Hara. Studds, who died in 2006, maintained throughout his life that his 1973 affair with the page was consensual and that he had done nothing wrong.

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