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07/23/2013

Gay and abruptly abandon your family? You had Michael Brown at 'gay'

by Jeremy Hooper

Eric Myers abandoned his family. He just left one day and stayed gone for sixteen years, leading everyone—his wife, his parents, his two young kids, etc.—to presume he had died.

Eric Myers also happens to be gay. While on his disappearing act, he met and fell in love with a man. And while that is true and a part of his story, the sexuality part is incidental to what Myers himself admits was "the most selfish thing in the world." His awful act was abandoning his wife and two young girls without so much as a phone call, and that would have been the awful act regardless of what (or who) Mr. Myers did in the interim. Even his hurt daughter is clear about this distinction, telling people to not blame his sexuality for what her father did. (READ/WATCH MYERS' FULL STORY HERE)


Screen Shot 2013-07-23 At 1.28.58 PmBut leave it to anti-LGBT commentator Michael Brown to take this man and link him to other men who have come out as gay after being presumed to be heterosexual. Brown writes:

What about [Myers'] coming to terms with his homosexuality? Wasn’t that a valid excuse for leaving his wife and children?

After all, wasn’t New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevey hailed for his courage when he announced that he was gay, confessed to an affair with another man, and resigned from office, all with his faithful wife at his side?

Within a year, he and his wife were separated and he was living with his partner Mark O'Donnell, only to commemorate his supposed bravery and grace in his book The Confession, billed as being “among the most honest political memoirs ever written.”

A decade before McGreevey’s announcement, Dr. Mel White, a husband, father, grandfather, seminary professor, pastor, member of the religious right, and ghost writer for Christian leaders like Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, and Billy Graham, shocked the evangelical world by leaving his wife and declaring his homosexuality, taking up residence with his partner Gary Nixon.

FULL PIECE: The Most Selfish Thing in the World [TownHall]

Brown's clumsy attempt to link this man to public figures like McGreevey and White is actually a very telling act. It speaks to the low regard that commentators like Michael Brown tend to have for us and our families, and to how they see our being gay as overriding everything else in our lives.

By all accounts, Jim McGreevey and Mel White have good, strong, present relationships with their families. Heck, White even took part in a recent edition of The Amazing Race with his son as his teammate! These are not deadbeat dads who skipped town. These are not men who pulled off some sort of a heist. Jim McGreevey and Mel White are men who happened to marry women even though they were closeted gay men.

But to Michael Brown, it's all the same thing. Brown closes his TownHall piece with the following passage, which deliberately puts the three men in the same boat and links them all together with Myers' own self-assessing quote:

As a heterosexual, I don’t claim to understand the inner turmoil that Myers or McGreevey or White lived with, but I do understand this: The commitment to love your wife and your children trumps your sexual desires and romantic attractions, and to destroy your family for the sake of those desires is, indeed, “the most selfish thing in the world.” [TH]

Because for Michael Brown, it would seem that the whole leaving for a decade-and-a-half part is the incidental portion of the story. It's the being gay that he sees as the truly selfish act.

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