Featured Guest At Hillary Clinton Fundraiser Said Gay Parents are Bad for Kids

‘Nature is about continuation of the species—in other words, children’

Garrison Keillor
Garrison Keillor / AP
December 15, 2015

The special guest at a Tuesday Hillary Clinton fundraiser drew the ire of the gay community in 2007 for an essay he wrote arguing that traditional marriage was better for a child than being raised by a gay couple.

Garrison Keillor, the longtime host of NPR’s "A Prairie Home Companion," was labeled the "prairie homophobic companion" after the publication of his Salon article that complained that the "country has come to accept stereotypical gay men."

"I grew up the child of a mixed-gender marriage that lasted until death parted them, and I could tell you about how good that is for children," Keillor wrote in an article titled "Stating the Obvious."

"Back in the day, that was the standard arrangement. Everyone had a yard, a garage, a female mom, a male dad, and a refrigerator with leftover boiled potatoes in plastic dishes with snap-on lids."

Keillor’s complaint was that the standard arrangement that was so beneficial to children of his generation was falling apart.

"Now gay marriage will produce a whole new string of hyphenated relatives," wrote Keillor. "In addition to the ex-stepson and ex-in-laws and your wife’s first husband’s second wife, there now will be Bruce and Kevin’s in-laws and Bruce’s ex, Mark, and Mark’s current partner, and I suppose we’ll get used to it."

His comments extended to painting gay men as "sardonic fellows with fussy hair who live in over-decorated apartments with a striped sofa and a small weird dog and who worship campy performers and go in for flamboyance now and then themselves."

Gay men must eliminate that "flamboyance" if they want to be parents, according to the essay.

"If they want to be accepted as couples and daddies, however, the flamboyance may have to be brought under control," Keillor wrote. "Parents are supposed to stand in back and not wear chartreuse pants and black polka-dot shirts."

TMZ characterized Keillor’s article as coming out of "the Ann Coulter Handbook" and wrote that his research on gay men "consisted entirely of watching a Netflix copy of ‘The Birdcage’ and reruns of ‘Queer Eye.’"

His role as a special guest for the Clinton event complicates her attempt to portray herself as a fighter for the rights of the LGBT community to be parents.

"Being a good parent has absolutely nothing to do with your sexual orientation or your gender identity," Clinton said last month. "The thousands of happy, healthy children being raised by LGBT people proves that."

Historical records from more than a decade ago reveal that Clinton has a "discomfort" around gay people because she did not have that much interaction with gay people in her upbringing.

Bill Clinton confessed to a close friend that his wife was not comfortable "around gay people who were kind of acting out" and that she was "a little put off" by the issue of gay rights, according to a Washington Free Beacon report.

The Clinton campaign did not respond to a request for comment.

After receiving an angry response from the gay community, Keillor issued an apology on NPR’s website saying that he wrote his piece in a voice he would use in his "small world of entertainment, musicians, writers."

"My column spoke as we would speak in my small world and it was read by people in the larger world and thus the misunderstanding. And for that, I am sorry," Keillor wrote. "Gay people who set out to be parents can be just as good parents as anybody else, and they know that, and so do I."

Keillor has made roughly $400,000 worth of political contributions to Democratic candidates and groups over the past 30 years.

He has already contributed the maximum allowed $2,700 to Clinton’s current campaign but has never contributed to any of her previous political campaigns. He supported Barack Obama in 2008.

Shortly after angering the gay community, he took a shot at non-Christians for mentioning Christmas in an article called "Nonbelievers, please leave Christmas alone."

"If you don't believe Jesus was God, OK, go write your own damn ‘Silent Night’ and leave ours alone. This is spiritual piracy and cultural elitism, and we Christians have stood for it long enough," Keillor wrote. "Christmas is a Christian holiday—if you're not in the club, then buzz off."

He complained of "all those lousy holiday songs by Jewish guys that trash up the malls every year, Rudolph and the chestnuts and the rest of that dreck."

The Boston Globe wrote that Keillor’s attack on the Jewish writers of songs such as "White Christmas" proved that he had become "cranky and intolerant" in his old age.

"Remember when Keillor was endearing and witty? What a shame that he’s become so cranky and intolerant," wrote the Boston Globe. "What kind of grinch thinks ‘White Christmas’ is ‘dreck’?"

Keillor announced this summer that this season of "A Prairie Home Companion" would be his last.