The Senator Craig incident has raised many interesting issues, one of which involves the nature of hypocrisy. Craig is accused of being a hypocrite because he has endorsed traditional values and has opposed what some regard as gat rights. His critics point to the fact that he was apparently attempting to commit adultery with a man in a public restroom as evidence for his hypocrisy.
On the face of it, this seems like a reasonable charge. After all, to endorse a set of values while acting contrary to them certainly seems hypocritical. However, it is important to sort out matters in a bit more detailed manner.
Assuming he was attempting to commit adultery, then he was acting in a manner inconsistent with his professed moral views. However, his actions are not inconsistent with his opposition to gay rights, such as gay marriage. After all, he was not attempting to marry a man in the bathroom. If he had been seeking gay marriage in the bathroom, then he could be charged with hypocrisy in this regard or, at the very least, inconsistency.
It might be objected that he is still a hypocrite. After all, as one might point out, he is opposing rights for gays while he himself certainly appears to be gay. This could be seen as hypocrisy or at least inconsistency.
In reply to this, even if a person is gay, it does not follow that they are morally obligated to endorse gay marriage or other gay rights. A person could be gay and believe that marriage is a bond between a man and a woman. Or a person who is gay might be opposed to marriage in general-as some heterosexuals are. To use an analogy, someone might claim that all women are obligated to endorse affirmative action because they are women and women benefit from this. However, there seems to be no inconsistency or hypocrisy in a woman opposing affirmative action. In any case, the burden of proof would rest on those who claim that if a person is gay, then they are morally obligated to support gay marriage and similar rights. If such an argument is made, then a gay person who opposes gay marriage and similar rights can then be accused of failing in his/her moral obligations.
Thus, while the senator can be branded as a hypocrite for attempting to commit adultery, he cannot be so branded because he has opposed gay rights. This, of course, assumes that he has not secretly been married to a man.