Should The Sins of Our Spouses Fall on Us?

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Should The Sins of Our Spouses Fall on Us?

Democratic Senate President Stanley C. Rosenberg, 68, looked heartbroken, shocked and devastated during an impromptu press conference outside of his office at the State House where he publicly addressed allegations that his spouse, Bryon Hefner, 38, groped and assaulted four men who do business before the Senate.

‘’My heart goes out to anyone who may have been hurt, and I am committed to helping anyone who has been harmed,’’ Rosenberg read from his statement in front of a bevy of reporters. ‘’This has been the most difficult time in my political life, and in my personal life.’’

Over a three year period, Hefner’s accusers said he grabbed their genitals, and one said Hefner kissed him against his will. Because Hefner boasted about his tremendous influence on Rosenberg the men felt powerless to come forth until this recent rash of men and women publicly stepping forward saying “Me, too” in shedding light on the magnitude as well pervasiveness of sexual harassment and sexual assault in our culture.

While three of the accusers allege the incidents happened with Rosenberg mere feet away there is no evidence that Rosenberg knew about the assaults. Regrettably, Rosenberg has temporarily stepped down from his post while the Senate investigates if Hefner interfered with the State House’s internal affairs which Rosenberg emphatically denounced.

Many are asking, myself included, is it fair to hold Rosenberg responsible for the actions of his spouse?

“If it were him being accused, it would be different, but it’s against his husband,” Steve Chojnacki, 61, of Amherst told the Globe. “Should he really step down if he hasn’t committed a crime?”

Rosenberg is loved and respected by his colleagues as well as out in the community. He’s a policy wonk who’s credited with helping “the Senate to become less insular and more responsive to constituents.” His decades of service has been exemplary- Chair of the Election Laws Committee, Chair of the Banking Committee, Chair of Senate Ways and Means Committee, Assistant Majority Leader, and the Senate’s first President Pro Tempore, to name a few of his posts.

Rosenberg, who credits his coming out publicly to Hefner, is the first openly gay Senate president, making him the highest-ranking elected LGBTQ official in the state’s history. And, as huge advocate of LGBTQ civil rights, Rosenberg was one of the key architects in the same-sex marriage battle in the State House.

As a spouse, Rosenberg has a fully developed and autonomous public