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Ronald Reagan’s Daughter: My Father Today Would Support Same-Sex Marriage

by David Badash on April 4, 2013

in News

Post image for Ronald Reagan’s Daughter: My Father Today Would Support Same-Sex Marriage

The daughter of the late former President Ronald Reagan says that she knows “the heart of the man who raised me as my father,” and were he alive today he would support same-sex marriage. Patti Davis, who, like her father, is a former actor, recently published a book, Till Human Voices Wake Us.

“Ms. Davis, now 60, offered several reasons her father, who would have been 102 this year, would have bucked his party on the issue: his distaste for government intrusion into private lives, his Hollywood acting career and close friendship with a lesbian couple who once cared for Ms. Davis and her younger brother Ron while their parents were on a Hawaiian vacation — and slept in the Reagans’ king-size bed,” the New York Times reports:

“I grew up in this era where your parents’ friends were all called aunt and uncle,” Ms. Davis said. “And then I had an aunt and an aunt. We saw them on holidays and other times.” She added, “We never talked about it, but I just understood that they were a couple.”

Once when she and her father were watching a Rock Hudson movie, Ms. Davis said, she remarked that the actor “looked weird” kissing his female co-star. She said her father explained that Mr. Hudson “would rather be kissing a man,” and conveyed, without using the words homosexual or gay, the idea that “some men are born wanting to love another man.” Years later, in 1985, Mr. Hudson died of AIDS.

Mr. Reagan had a mixed record on gay rights. As president, he infuriated many gay people with his slow response to the AIDS epidemic, but as governor of California he joined a number of Democrats, including President Jimmy Carter, in opposing a ballot measure that would have barred gays and lesbians from working in public schools.

Ms. Davis said her father “did not believe that gayness was a choice,” although “as a straight man and an old-fashioned man, it’s not like he understood it.”

Ms. Davis’ brother, Michael Reagan, made news — and waves — this week by writing an op-ed demanding people and churches march in the streets against marriage equality, and likening same-sex marriages to “polygamy, bestiality, and perhaps even murder.” He was later forced to “apologize” for the “murder” mention.

Ronald Reagan, revered by the Christian right and the GOP in general, is reviled by some in the LGBT community for his silence and inaction during the AIDS crisis that began during his presidency. Others point to his support of gay and lesbian teachers, opposing a bill that would have banned them from employment in public schools.

Image: Reagan family portrait, 1967 — Ronald, Ron, Nancy, Patti

 Hat tip: Talking Points Memo



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armetisius April 4, 2013 at 3:16 pm

Poor Patti, always in her brothers' shadow and always wanting attention. I am glad you chose this route this time to get attention; you had to do something with all the spots on Ronnie Jr. But, as someone who lived through your father's administration, complete with his support of the Religious Right [which turned out to be neither one] and establishment of the "Moral Majority" [most of its zealot bigoted leaders busted in one scandal or another] I feel sorry for the lies you have bought into or fabricated in your mind. I am tired of people doing everything but trying to canonize a Protestant when it comes to this man. He either directly or indirectly supported bigotry/misinformation, and blatantly abandoned a segment of this country when a real leader was needed to respond to what is still one of the biggest health crises in this country's history. No; he would NOT support marriage equality. Just as he would not step up and silence the hatred his administration spawned through silence and selfish blind devotion to his party. A party which he seemed to think needed religious dogma to justify and consolidate its hatred for political gain.

sdfrenchie April 4, 2013 at 5:02 pm

I could have sworn Ron (the son) was gay and that President Reagan had rejected him. Now Ron is anti-gay? What happened? Does anyone else remember Ron's being gay being an issue in the Reagan family?

sdfrenchie April 4, 2013 at 5:38 pm

<div class="idc-message" id="idc-comment-msg-div-611662061"><a class="idc-close" title="Click to Close Message" href="javascript: IDC.ui.close_message(611662061)"><span>Close Message</span> Comment posted. <p class="idc-nomargin"><a class="idc-share-facebook" target="_new" href="; style="text-decoration: none;"><span class="idc-share-inner"><span>Share on Facebook</span></span> or <a href="javascript: IDC.ui.close_message(611662061)">Close MessageI just read a Seattle Times article, an interview of Ron Reagan by Manuel Roig Franzia of the Washington Post. It supposedly answers my question in my post of 25 minutes ago. Ron Reagan and his father didn't agree on many issues, the biggest being that Ron is an atheist and Ronald wanted him to be a Christian. Ron and his father did take part in sports, but Ron was attracted to the ballet and was "thrilled" by what he could do with his body in the dance. He said he admired the Nureyevs and the grace of the movements of ballet, so took it up himself. This started rumors among Ronald Reagan's administration with the most vocal being a Democrat named Larry Kramer.

Ron took the comments in stride. He really didn't care what people thought of him and admits he was amused. He met his wife of 30 years at a dance studio and they were secretly married. Some people believed the marriage was a sham but Ron insists he is heterosexual and he and his wife live peacefully in a cabin in Washington State.

Even so, I fail to understand why he has come out so harshly against homosexuals and same sex marriage. Perhaps the ribbing he got for being in the ballet bothered him more than he cares to admit. Either that or he's just pissed that he wasted his whole life pretending to be straight and now he doesn't want anyone else to enjoy what he missed out on. Just sayin'.

Marky80 April 4, 2013 at 7:19 pm

I think you're confusing Ron Reagan Jr. with Michael Reagan. Michael is the anti-gay one. :)

sdfrenchie April 4, 2013 at 11:37 pm

I sure did get them confused, and confessed to it on another post about Michael. But it was interesting to look up the information on Ron. I hope Michael fails big time.

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