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During a recent conversation with a reporter in Texas, our founding editor asked about a pair of emails we recently received accusing Texas Governor and presumed Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry of being a serial adulterer.

“Has he had an affair?” we asked.

The reporter’s reply?

“Gay or straight?”

Wait … what? This is Rick Perry we’re talking about, right? The uber-right wing, Bible-thumping, anti-gay social conservative extremist who many Republicans view as the forthcoming Messiah of a less-than-inspiring 2012 presidential field?

“Look at his hair,” the reporter told us. “It’s perfect.”

Needless to say, we immediately took a second look – not at Perry’s hair, but at the two emails we were forwarded about his alleged sexcapades.

“Rick Perry is sitting on a keg of slut-fueled nitroglycerine that if it exploded it would make Anthony Weiner look like a mere pimple popping,” states one of the emails (which we traced back to this website).

Of course that site almost exclusively addresses allegations of straight affairs – or sport sex, to be more accurate.

“God knows how much money Rick and his entourage spend on hookers and sluts,” the email’s author notes. “The dollar amount that I heard was huge; so large in fact that it makes me think that Rick is taking bribes or illegal gifts.”

Hmmmm … but what about the gay rumors?

Stories about Perry’s alleged homosexuality are nothing new in the Lone Star State – dating back to the 1980s when he was first elected to the Texas House of Representatives. The rumors first hit the national radar in 2009 during his gubernatorial primary campaign against U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson. Perry wasn’t directly accused of being gay during that election, but Hutchinson’s website curiously included the term “Perry gay” in its website coding.

Hutchinson’s response after being caught?

“We did not know these offensive word associations were being searched for by hundreds of thousands of Texans everyday,” one of her campaign aides said at the time.

Wow … did that quote take the high road or the low road? It’s hard to tell …

So far only one legacy news outlet, The Austin Chronicle, has delved into the rumors – finding “no evidence of any truth to any of them, whatsoever.” Of course the author who wrote that piece also lamented that “no one would go on the record” regarding what they had seen and heard of Perry’s alleged homosexuality.

He did get a quote directly from Perry’s office, though.

“These are false, malicious, and hurtful rumors, and the Chronicle‘s own investigation acknowledges that fact,” a Perry spokeswoman told the paper.

Obviously, we don’t care if Perry is gay or straight … or a little bit of both. We care about the specific tax and spending cuts that he proposes (assuming he offers any) and his views on a host of other substantive issues facing this country.

Having said that, if one of the nation’s most aggressive anti-gay politicians turns out to a closeted homosexual, watch out … although if one of the nation’s most sanctimonious moralizers turns out to be a major league poon hound, that could be problematic for his political future, too.

Frankly, we’re disinclined to believe the “gay” rumors about Perry at this point – if for no other reason than the fact that he is clearly moving towards a presidential bid. He’s also moving toward an announcement with his wife’s support – while ramping up his rhetoric against homosexuality.

“Gay marriage is not fine with me,” Perry said earlier this week, clarifying his previous position that such laws should be left to the states.

Would Perry really make the presidential leap if something like this was in his closet? And if so, would he really be so outspoken on the issue?

Obviously FITS will continue to follow up with our sources in Texas, but this is one rumor that – while perhaps true – we don’t necessarily believe will ever pan out.

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