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Keillor: I'm no
Prairie Homophobe Companion

Keillor: I'm no
Prairie Homophobe Companion

Satirist Garrison Keillor apologized Tuesday for a column asserting that gay men may have to quell their "flamboyance" to be accepted as parents, saying he believed "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."

The syndicated column, which was posted March 14 on with the headline "Stating the Obvious" and was carried by other media outlets, kicked off by needling federally funded studies of everyday truths--in this case, "that going to art museums and looking at art is good for schoolchildren."

But Keillor got into trouble as he went on.

"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, and you could pay me whatever you think it's worth," he continued.

"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."

"The country has come to accept stereotypical gay men--sardonic fellows with fussy hair who live in overdecorated apartments with a striped sofa and a small weird dog and who worship campy performers," he wrote. "If they want to be accepted as couples and daddies, however, the flamboyance may have to be brought under control."

Seattle columnist Dan Savage called the column "every bit as offensive as Ann Coulter's 'faggot' joke about John Edwards and [relying] on the same set of cultural prejudices."

"I know a lot of gay couples with children--some of which, as I type these words, are losing their health insurance in Michigan because of an anti-gay marriage amendment passed in that state," Savage wrote.

"The column was done tongue-in-cheek, always a risky thing," Keillor wrote in his apology on the Web site of National Public Radio, which hosts his Prairie Home Companion show, set in a white, Protestant, rural Midwest seemingly untouched by time.

People outside that demographic sometimes have trouble grasping Keillor's humor, and they leaped, like Savage, to assert that the monogamy-praising satirist has been married three times.

In his apology, Keillor said, "I live in a small world--the world of entertainment, musicians, writers--in which gayness is as common as having brown eyes. But in the larger world, gayness is controversial.... Gay men and women have been targeted by the right wing as a hot-button issue. In the small world I live in, they feel accepted and cherished as individuals, but in the larger world they may feel like Types.

"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." (Barbara Wilcox, The Advocate)

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