Friday, October 29, 2010

At least he had the sense to resign.

I am pleased to report that the Arkansas school board member who said he wished all gay kids would kill themselves, Clint McCance, has resigned from the school board.

He says he regrets the remarks. I'm sorry but I have to wonder if he is sorry he said it, or sorry that there was such a response to it. Those are not the same thing.

This man said he would disown his own children if one of them were gay. Wow! What sort of message does he think that sent to his own children?

He says: "The words I used were unfortunate but they can't be taken back." No, they can't. But they were not unfortunate. This was not just an "unfortunate" incident. He chose to say what he said, what is unfortunate, for him, is that he is paying the price. His political career is over.

I am glad he resigned and glad he apologized for the incredibly cruel things he said.

But I am haunted by the words of McCance that he would disown his own children. Such things happen in fundamentalist homes more than most people realize.

In his day the so-called "faith healer" Oral Roberts was well-known for holding the typical anti-gay view. His oldest son and heir apparent was Ronald Roberts. He was considered a highly intelligent man with the perfect family himself. But then Ronnie divorced and admitted he was gay. A few months later, facing nothing but rejection from his fundamentalist family and friends, Ronnie Roberts killed himself.

Ronnie's nephew, and Oral's grandson, Randy Roberts Potts, wrote about his mother's eyes would light up every time she spoke about Ronnie, her brother. Randy says that his want he wanted from his mother when she spoke about him but says that "her eyes don't ling up anymore, and haven't in years—for the last five, at least."

His mother wants little to do with Randy as well. Randy, like his uncle, had married and had a perfect family. And like his uncle he knew he was lying. He too was gay. Apparently the Roberts' family learned nothing from Ronnie's suicide. Randy is now alienated from his own family, living in Dallas and raising his children.

I hope Mr. McCance realizes how easily this can come to his own doorstep. He says he loves his two children, yet he said if one of them were gay he would "run them off."

Anti-gay bigotry is in a unique class of itself. A racist who hates blacks will not suddenly discover his own child is black. But the anti-gay bigot could wake up and find they have a gay child. It has happened time and time again. The adult disparaging gays could be insulting their own children in an incredibly cruel way without ever knowing it.

Photo: Clint McCance

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