On Gay Marriage, What Would Reagan Do?

The daughter of Ronald and Nancy Reagan says that the former president would support marriage equality if he were alive today.

BY Lucas Grindley

April 04 2013 3:53 PM ET

Patti Davis, Ronald Reagan

Republicans often invoke the memory of Ronald Reagan when deciding the best course for their party's future. So Reagan's daughter's provocative suggestion today that the former president would have supported marriage equality is noteworthy.

Patti Davis told The New York Times that her father liked to keep government out of private lives, and that while she was growing up her family had gay friends. One couple even babysat for her and her brother.

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

While watching Rock Hudson on TV together, Reagan explained to his daughter that “some men are born wanting to love another man," according to Davis.

But if President Reagan would now support marriage equality, he's often reviled among the LGBT community for ignoring the AIDS epidemic as it spread during the 1980s. The Advocate on more than one occasion included him among its annual list of most homophobic figures.

Davis just released a new e-book about a woman who, after the death of her son, falls in love with her sister-in-law.

Tags: Politics

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