Ronald Reagan Would Have Backed Gay Marriage, Says Daughter Patti Davis

Image: Ronald Reagan Would Have Backed Gay Marriage, Says Daughter Patti Davis Patti Davis poses near artwork given to her late father, U.S. President Ronald Reagan, at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif.

Thursday, 04 Apr 2013 01:24 PM

By Alexandra Ward

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Former President Ronald Reagan would have supported gay marriage and "been puzzled" by the strong opposition to it, his daughter Patti Davis told the New York Times this week.

Although Davis, 60, never discussed the matter with her father before he died in 2004, she says now that she believes the Republican Party icon Ronald Reagan would have gone against the conservative view on same-sex marriage.

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Davis says her father's distaste for government intrusion into private lives began during his Hollywood acting career, and his friendship with a lesbian couple that was close to the family would have contributed to his view on the issue.

"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. We never talked about it, but I just understood that they were a couple."

Davis recalled that she once watched a Rock Hudson movie with Reagan and remarked that the actor "looked weird" kissing his female co-star. Her father explained to her, without using the words "homosexual" or "gay," that Hudson "would rather be kissing a man."

Davis has long been known for her rebellious, liberal streak despite her father's conservative stance. She publicly fell out with her parents and did not speak to them for a number of years.

In 1994, she posed for Playboy and starred in the erotic film "Playboy Celebrity Centerfold." She bared all again in 2011 at age 58 for More magazine to celebrate her body's triumph over drug addiction.

Most recently, Patty Davis penned a novel based on a lesbian love story.

Davis is also not the only member of the Reagan family to speak out about gay marriage. Her adopted brother Michael Reagan published an editorial in the Ironton Tribune Tuesday, but his stance was a little different.

Michael Reagan, who now works as a political consultant and is the author of "The New Reagan Revolution: How Ronald Reagan's Principles Can Restore America's Greatness," encouraged the religious community to protest gay marriage.

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"Where in the heck are the churches on the issue of legalizing gay marriage?" Michael Reagan wrote. "Where’s the moral outrage? Why aren’t thousands of our pastors, priests, and rabbis shouting from their pulpits? Why aren't they leading their congregations through the streets in mass protest?"

Davis and Reagan's comments come as debate about gay marriage takes center stage. The Supreme Court heard arguments last week on California’s Proposition 8, which bans the right for same-sex couples to marry, and on the national Defense of Marriage Act, which has legally defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman since 1996.

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