Blogger Michelangelo Signorile has outed John McCain's chief of staff, Mark Buse.

Why is it relevant to McCain's presidential campaign? Signorile writes:

John McCain is opposed to every single gay rights measure of recent years -- from a hate crimes bill, to an anti-discrimination bill to an attempt to repeal the "don't ask, don't tell" policy on gays in the military -- and is publicly on record supporting a ballot measure in California this November to strip gays and lesbians there of their legally-won right to marry in that state. If that isn't enough to make it relevant to report on his 20-year-relationship with a close aide and chief of staff who is gay, the fact that Sarah Palin is now on the ticket -- garnering support for McCain from previously reticent antigay leaders like James Dobson of Focus on the Family -- surely does.

More relevant questions after the cut.

There's also an Oregon connection... "It was around 1993, and Mark was upset, because McCain was going to speak before an antigay group, the Oregon Citizen's Alliance..."

Has Mark Buse been assured by John McCain that his bowing to religious conservatives is all just politics, that he's just stringing along the fundies, and that he wouldn't sell him and his kind to the far right as president? If that is the case, what would the Christian right think about that now and don't they have a right to know?

And, if true, how would Buse and certainly McCain then explain the choice of Palin, beyond admitting that it is simply a reckless gamble, since it's quite possible she could become president and bring the ideologues into the White House? Is there some other plan for how do deal with Palin?

Or has McCain's shift to the far right been more profound rather than solely opportunistic? Perhaps he does truly stand behind his positions against gay rights and perhaps he truly respects Palin's politics that appear to erase the lines between church and state. In that case, has Mark Buse completely sold out, perhaps transformed by those years as a lobbyist and perhaps having different priorities now -- gay rights be damned?

What else does the reality of Mark Buse's life say about John McCain? Does he see his own chief of staff, someone he has known now for 20 years, as someone who should have no rights, no hate crimes protections, and no employment protection in the private sector? Does he see his own loyal chief of staff as someone who should be hounded by Christian conservatives, pressured to enter damaging "conversion" therapy programs, and made a target of violence that is inspired by the hate spewed by agents of intolerance?

And what does Sarah Palin think of all of this? Does she know about John McCain's gay chief of staff? Is Palin an opportunist too, and is her allegiance to the evangelical right skin deep? Or, is she a true believer who would believe Mark Buse should be sent to an "ex-gay" therapy program to "convert" him to heterosexuality? If she were to become president, will she give more power to the people who would very much like to put every gay American through such a program?