Rep. Jon Hinson (R-Miss.)
On Aug. 8, 1980, during his first reelection bid, Hinson stunned everyone by announcing that in 1976 he had been accused of committing an obscene act at a gay haunt in Virginia. Hinson, married and a strong conservative, added that in 1977 he had survived a fire in a gay D.C. movie theater. He was making the disclosure, he said, because he needed to clear his conscience. But he denied he was a homosexual and refused GOP demands that he resign. Hinson won reelection in a three-way race, with 39 percent of the vote. But three months later, he was arrested on charges of attempted oral sodomy in the restroom of a House office building. He resigned his seat on April 13, 1981.
Claims to fame: Closet homo; adulterer
Moral apex: Newly wedded (to a woman), he was arrested at a D.C. gay bar in 1976. A year later, escaped a fire in a gay porn theatre.
Amazing fact: Forced out of closet during 1980 re-election run, was actually re-elected (but only because a third candidate split the Democratic vote; Hinson won with 39%.)
But then: Was arrested again in 1981 on charges of attempted oral sodomy. In a menâ€™s room. In a House office building. Resigned.
The good news: Now outed, he got involved with gay rights.
The bad news: Died of AIDS in 1995.
Jon Clifton Hinson (March 16, 1942 â€“ July 21, 1995) was a politician from the state of Mississippi.
Hinson was born in Tylertown, Mississippi and graduated from the University of Mississippi in Oxford. Hinson was an aide to Representatives Charles H. Griffin, a Democrat, and Thad Cochran, a Republican.
In 1978, Congressman Cochran chose not to run for re-election to Congress in order to run for the United States Senate. Hinson was elected to succeed his boss, winning with 51.6% of the vote. Hinson defeated John Hampton Stennis, the son of Senator John Stennis. Stennis won 26.4% and the rest went to independent candidates.
During his re-election campaign in 1980, Hinson admitted that in 1976, while an aide to Cochran, he had been arrested for committing an obscene act, exposing himself to an undercover policeman at the Iwo Jima Memorial in Arlington National Cemetery. Hinson denied that he was homosexual and blamed his problems on alcoholism. He said that he had reformed and refused to yield to demands that he resign. He won re-election with 38.97% of the vote, as independent candidate Leslie McLemore won 29.8% and Democrat Britt Singletary won 29.4% of the vote.
Hinson, who was married to Cynthia Hinson, was again arrested on February 5, 1981, and charged with attempted oral sodomy for performing oral sex on an African-American male employee of the Library of Congress in a restroom of the House of Representatives. He was later charged with sodomy. At the time, the charge was a felony that could have resulted in up to 10 years in prison, as well as fines of up to $10,000. Since both parties were consenting adults, the charge was reduced to a misdemeanor, as per policy of the United States Attorney's office. Facing a maximum penalty of one year in prison and a $1,000 fine, Hinson pleaded not guilty to a charge of attempted sodomy the following day and was released without bail pending a trial scheduled for May 4, 1981. Soon thereafter, he voluntarily admitted himself to a Washington area hospital for treatment.
 Resignation and later life
He resigned on April 13, 1981, early in his second term. He said that his resignation had been "the most painful and difficult decision of my life." He was succeeded in Congress by Wayne Dowdy, a Democrat, who won the special election held in the summer of 1981.
Soon afterwards, he acknowledged that he was gay. His marriage ended and he became an activist for gay rights.
He later helped to organize the lobbying group "Virginians for Justice" and fought against the ban on gays in the military. He also was a founding member of the Fairfax Lesbian and Gay Citizens Association in Fairfax County.
He never returned to Mississippi but lived quietly in the Washington area, first in Alexandria, Virginia, and then Silver Spring, Maryland.
Hinson also disclosed that he survived a 1977 fire that killed nine people at the Cinema Follies, a Washington theater that catered to a gay clientele. He was rescued from under a pile of bodiesâ€”one of only four men who survived.