Later this morning, the state legislature’s Executive Board will meet to decide the fate of state Senator Bill Kintner (not representing my district, I’m relieved to say). Kintner used a state-owned computer to engage in extramarital cybersex, and apparently tried to elude responsibility by reporting “a potential internet scam” to the State Patrol—said scam being that the person on the receiving end of Kintner’s Skype stream immediately threatened to use the video against him. The Governor’s office got wind of it shortly thereafter, but only now, a year later, has the story burst into the public consciousness. Having called on Kintner to resign last year, Governor Pete Ricketts again urged Kintner to step down, while the Senator seems content to work out his penitence with God alone. Meanwhile, advocacy group Bold Nebraska is circulating a petition calling for Kintner’s resignation.
There are plenty of reasons to dislike Kintner and want him out of public office, not least of which is the sputtering homophobia—e.g., writing on Facebook, “It is sad to see the City of Cincinnati promoting sin” in response to rainbow flag banners being hung during Pride. And I don’t object to pointing out the hypocrisy of a politician who prattles about family values and then gets caught [cyber]cheating. But some of the calls to resign have been tinged with sex shaming (cf. Bold Nebraska’s repeated use of the phrase cybersex scandal), and that’s not a path I have any interest in following. Senator Kintner has been fined $1,000 for the misuse of state property (though no one seemed to mind as much when he sported a gun rights coalition sticker on a state laptop some years ago). If Kintner resigns his seat, I won’t miss him, but if he’s to be pushed out of office—and recognizing my own naiveté while writing this—I’d prefer that it be for more substantive reasons.