What is an unknown Republican Congressperson supposed to do when their party is in a shrinking minority and they want get their name out to the broader public? Well, there are two options. One, do something beneficial for all of humanity so that maybe your name will be associated with some great deed and maybe even you will be remembered in history as somebody important. Or, two, take a page out of Michelle Bachman's book and say something crazy.
Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) took the latter option, claiming that gay-bashing victim Matthew Sheppard was not killed because he was gay at all:
I was in college in 1998 at San Francisco State University at the time Sheppard was killed. In response, some of us organized a speak-out about homophobia on campus and a march at Castro and Market on Halloween of about 1,000 people. Granted, it's not hard to get a bunch of pro-gay people together at that place and time, but it was important to speak out, even in SF. But there was also an outpouring of opposition to homophobia with small rallies all across the country.
Foxx's lunacy--not just calling it a "myth" or a "misunderstanding" but a "hoax"--sounds all too much light nutty paranoia. The only reason to say this sort of thing on the floor of Congress--even if she believed it were true--is to rally a voting base of ultra-right homophobes.