Nobody cares if a public official separates from his wife. But if the public official is Ric Keller, the 38-year-old conservative Orange County congressman who swept into office in 2000 waving the family-values flag, the rules are different.
Keller isn't answering questions about his recent separation from wife Cathy Keller. Sources close to the congressman say he has been unhappy with his marriage for two years; he is outgoing while Cathy is quiet and reserved.
A statement issued by Keller's office stated, "We regret that after working on our marriage, including marital counseling, we have mutually decided to separate. We are currently working together to make this as positive a situation as possible for us and our children."
Keller's election morality play attracted help from the Christian right. Televangelist James Dobson ran radio spots for Keller and was quoted in campaign literature saying Keller was "the obvious choice for those who care about the biblical values upon which our nation was founded."
Dobson, who declined to be interviewed, frowns upon divorce, saying it leads to more misery than one might anticipate. "A person can abandon his or her family quicker and easier than he can get out of a cellular telephone contract," he wrote in a September newsletter.