Even militant conservative Phyllis Schlafly admits
she’s a proud mom who loves her gay son
she’s a proud mom who loves her gay son
By Daniel A. Kusner May 22, 2001
Don’t expect to find Phyllis Schlafly, 81, bearing her soul at a P-FLAG rally. It’s just never going to happen.
The ultra-conservative pro-family/pro-life activist launched the Stop-ERA crusade in the ’70s and leads The Eagle Forum, a volunteer organization that favors punishing gay sex with imprisonment. But ever since her eldest son, John Schlafly, a lawyer, was publicly outed in 1992, Phyllis has been an easy target for gays to ridicule.
Sunday is Mother’s Day. And although there are countless other candidates who’d make a better spokesperson for parents of gay children, Phyllis Schlafly stands out as someone who’s probably had to strongly re-examine the bond between a mom and her queer kid.
In interviews with the gay press, Schlafly remains an even-tempered albeit tight-lipped subject. Her prime agenda on the topic of motherhood mostly deals with her fierce advocacy for breastfeeding and disposable diapers.
“Paper diapers are the greatest invention that ever happened,” she beams.
But beneath the stridently anti-gay radical right exterior lies the undeniably warm heart of a mother of six, and grandmother of 14, who loves her gay son no matter what.
“There’s a point when you have to let your children live their own lives when they become adults,” she says.
And when it comes to controversies and disappointments, Schlafly says a mother’s love should overcome those difficulties.
“I have a close friend whose son was bounced from the Navy for drug use. And the Navy is real tough on drugs. This was a terrible affront to her husband who had had a fine Navy career, and the Navy was so important in his life. But he was going to tell the son never to come home again," Schlafly remembers.
"And I told my friend, ‘No. No, you welcome him home.’ She has thanked me 1,000 times for that. And her son has turned out to be a very fine young man.”
According to Schlafly, being a strong role model is the most important thing a parent can do when they’re children have reached adulthood. And she admits that the Schlafly family has some of the same problems other families have.
“But we have no illegal drug use. Nobody smokes. We don’t have any divorce. We don’t have illegitimate pregnancies. And we’re workaholics,” Schlafly says.
However, there’s at least one surprise that’s come out of the closet.
And when John Schlafly was outed, it was mostly done to take Phyllis down a few pegs.
“I didn’t have any other problem other than the media asking nosy questions. And of course it was all done to embarrass me. This is the alliance of the gays and the abortionists, who really have nothing in common except a political alliance. So they created this national media controversy,” she explains.
“The harassment of the media is a terrible annoyance. They invited me on shows who would not otherwise have invited me, because that’s all they wanted to talk about. And it was all done to embarrass me. I mean, my son doesn’t have any enemies,” she continues. “It just made a big national news story that went on for weeks — about something that wasn’t none of anybody’s business. He was deliberately outed by somebody who went around bragging that he didn’t believe in outing.”
Did her son being gay change anything between them?
“No. He’s a wonderful young man. He’s my first born, and I love him,” she says.
Was she ever afraid for her son because he's gay?
“No. I’m not a person who’s afraid of things,” she quickly answers.
Did the fact that her son ever challenge her political ideology?
“No, not really. Actually he’s very supportive of practically all of my work. He believes in the traditional family and most of the things I work for. We’re just a private family and we don’t air all our personal problems out for the public. Now, I think that’s about enough of me and my son. Let’s finish this topic,” Schlafly says in a stern, motherly way.
But she did give one piece of advice of the gay community for this Mother’s Day.
“I hope all the gays and lesbians love their mothers and respect them,” she says.
And for what it’s worth, Mrs. Schlafly, most of the gay community probably wishes you a Happy Mother’s Day.