A son of conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly has publicly revealed that he is homosexual, while at the same time defending his mother's political views and the Republican Party's "family values" campaign theme.
"The family values movement is not anti-gay," said John F. Schlafly, a 41-year-old attorney who lives with his parents in Alton, Ill., and counts among his clients the Eagle Forum, the conservative group founded by his mother.
"These people are not anti-gay. They're not gay bashers," John Schlafly said in a telephone interview Friday. "I hold my mother in very high esteem. She's doing good work."
He added that he "didn't agree with everything" he heard at the GOP convention but insisted that "efforts to convey the (Republican) Convention and the platform and speakers as bigots and gay bashers is completely inaccurate. The concept of family values should not be threatening to gays and lesbians. Most gays and lesbians have good relations with their family, as I do."
Schlafly was "outed," or revealed to be gay, by QW, a magazine published in New York, two weeks ago. He confirmed his homosexuality in an interview published Friday by the San Francisco Examiner.
"I thought it best to set the record straight," Schlafly explained. "The media was trying to push the angle that there was some sort of hypocrisy going on, which I felt was inaccurate."
Phyllis Schlafly characterized the media's interest in her son's revelation as "obviously a political hit against me." She declined to say when she learned her son is gay and added that homosexuality "is not a big subject around (the Schlafly family)."
As for her stand on gay rights, Phyllis Schlafly said: "There's nothing about my position on gay rights that should be offensive to a gay unless he's seeking some kind of preferential status."
While John Schlafly said he did not think it was right for someone to be fired based on sexual orientation, he said he did "not support the so-called gay-rights agenda" and was not sure what he thought of the military's ban on homosexuals.
In his remarks to the Examiner, he disagreed with one common contention of the religious right, that homosexuality is a choice. "You can say in some sense I choose to write with my right or left hand," Schlafly said. "But the point is that it is such an automatic decision. That's how I see homosexuality."
He also objected "to anyone saying that being gay constitutes not having good moral character."