Anti-Gay Pastor Steps down after Hustler Alleges They Had 3 Year Affair
November 2, 2006

(Denver, Colorado) Evangelist Ted Haggard, one of the leaders of a proposed amendment to ban same-sex marriage in Colorado, stepped down from the ministry of his 14,000-member New Life Church in Colorado Springs after a male escort alleged he had a three year pay-for-sex affair with Haggard.

Haggard denies the affair, but in an afternoon news conference said that he was stepping down to allow church elders to conduct an investigation. Haggard also said he was voluntarily resigning as president of the multimillion- member National Association of Evangelicals.

But while Haggard denies having a gay affair, the man who alleges the pastor paid him for sex is sticking by his statements.

Mike Jones first made the revelation to television station KUSA and then repeated them on a Denver radio talk show Thursday. (story)

According to Jones he had a three-year sexual business relationship with Haggard.

KUSA reports that Jones first came to the station three months ago with his story.

"People may look at me and think what I've done is immoral, but I think I had to do the moral thing in my mind and that is expose someone who is preaching one thing and doing the opposite behind everybody's back," Jones told the television station.

Haggard has been one of the major proponents for a proposed amendment to the Colorado constitution that would ban same-sex marriage. Voters will decide the issue next Tuesday, along with a second proposal to create civil unions for gay couples in the state - something that Haggard has publicly opposed.

On KHOW radio Thursday Jones accused the evangelist of lying when he denied having a relationship with Jones.

"Yes he is (lying)," said Jones. "He had a relationship with me. We had gay sex."

He also claimed to have recorded voicemails and a letter from Haggard, and that he had witnessed Haggard use methamphetamine.

Jones offered to take a polygraph and the station took him up on the offer. It will be conducted on the air on Friday.

Focus on the Family chair James Dobson rushed to Haggard's defense on Thursday.

"It is unconscionable that the legitimate news media would report a rumor like this based on nothing but one man's accusation," Dobson said in a statement.

"Ted Haggard is a friend of mine and it appears someone is trying to damage his reputation as a way of influencing the outcome of Tuesday's election -- especially the vote on Colorado's marriage-protection amendment -- which Ted strongly supports."

A recent Mason-Dixon poll for the Denver Post shows that both the proposed amendment and the civil unions measure, are likely to be approved by voters. (story)

The domestic partner registry was approved by the legislature earlier this year. Called Proposition I, it would give same-sex couples many of the rights of marriage.

The ban on same-sex marriage was the result of a so-called citizens initiative put forward by the conservative Coloradans for Marriage a group associated with Focus on the Family. (story)


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