Robin Roberts, the out lesbian who co-anchors ABC’s Good Morning America, tells The Advocate she remains proud of her Mississippi roots but that her home state’s new anti-LGBT law “hurts my soul.”
The cancer survivor was on vacation when The Advocate first noted that she was the face of Mississippi’s official tourism publication for 2016, which was produced long before Gov. Phil Bryant signed the so-called religious liberty bill known as House Bill 1523 into law on Tuesday.
Now Roberts has added her voice to the chorus of critiques of the Magnolia State’s sweeping anti-LGBT law, which allows business, individuals, and broadly defined “religiously affiliated organizations” to refuse service to LGBT people, single mothers, and others who somehow offend an individual’s “sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction.”
In an exclusive statement sent to The Advocate, Roberts reflected on her Mississippi roots, and her home state’s official embrace of anti-LGBT discrimination.
“My father, Colonel Lawrence Roberts, was assigned to Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi in 1969. During his military career we lived in many states and countries. When Dad retired from the Air Force in 1975, we chose to stay in Mississippi. We fell in love with the Magnolia State for many reasons.
“Last year well before recent events, I was interviewed and photographed to be on the cover of Mississippi's official state tourism publication. I've often boasted about the beautiful people, delicious food and my picturesque hometown of Pass Christian.
“My longtime partner, Amber, and I have always felt welcomed in my home state, and it hurts my soul to think of anyone not feeling welcome.
“It’s always been a deeply held belief of mine that everyone, everywhere should be treated equally. I'm proud that my beloved mother and father taught me as a child growing up in Mississippi to focus on the many things we all have in common, not our few differences. And what we all deserve to have in common is the right to be treated equally.”
In the official tourism publication, Roberts is interviewed about her work covering the Mississippi impact of Hurricane Katrina for Good Morning America. Inside the magazine, the cover story indicates that "Robin Roberts reflects on how her Mississippi roots shaped her life."
Roberts's smiling face not only covers the annual tourism publication but also appears on MississippiTourGuide.com as well as on the state's tourism website, VisitMississippi.org.