Openly gay Rhode Island House Speaker Gordon Fox who was criticized by LGBT activists for pushing for civil unions rather than marriage in 2011 has resigned his leadership position and will not seek reelection after the FBI in conjuncture with the R.I State Police and and the IRS conducted a raid on his home and office taking boxes of evidence with them.
“Because of the respect I have for all members of the House of Representatives, I am resigning as Speaker,” Fox said in a written statement emailed to reporters. “The process of governing must continue and the transition of leadership must be conducted in an orderly manner.” The 52-year-old Providence Democrat, who became the nation’s first openly gay House speaker in 2010, said he planned to serve out the remainder of his term through the end of the year, but that “my personal focus going forward will be on my family and dealing with the investigation.”
Col. Steven G. O’Donnell, superintendent of the Rhode Island State Police stated that police investigations often result in joint operations and federal charges, especially “if it’s any type of corruption case or political person.” In such cases, he said federal prosecution is often preferable because “the guidelines are better for the punishment.”
He declined to disclose why the authorities are investigating Fox, and whether Fox is the target of the investigation or merely someone with evidence of crimes committed by others. But he said the former speaker is not in the dark.
“Fox knows what’s going on,” O’Donnell said. “He’s certainly aware of what happened” Friday and why it happened.