Much has been made in the news lately of George Alan Rekers’ trip in which he employed a young male prostitute from a gay website to be his companion. Rekers, the founder of the Family Research Council with Dr. James Dobson gave back trouble and difficulty lifting luggage as the reason for hiring a companion. We’re not going to join the pile on of blogs attacking alleged clergy hypocrisy, sneering at Rekers’ powerful and effective campaigns against Prop 8 in California and inclusion of gays and lesbians in family society while personally engaging the services of a whore. It could be that he knew nothing of the young man’s background. It could be that he did not hire him off the website. It could be that this is a set up.
However, as straight spouses, we have heard this reasoning before. Here are some real live responses from real live closeted gay husbands reported by straight wives:
“I don’t know how that picture got there. Yahoo must be putting things on our computer.”
“Now how can you believe I would do something like that? Don’t you have any faith in me? You’re not a good Christian wife to have no faith in your husband.”
“Yes of course I am spending thousands of dollars a month on the cell phone and sending money to that poor fellow because I am TRYING TO HELP HIM!”
” You don’t know very much about men, do you? We all look at porn. Men, women, who cares. What is the big deal? WHAT’S THE MATTER WITH YOU???”
“I would NEVER expose you to HIV, you don’t have to worry about that!” (translation – I’ve got this under control, it’s not going to happen to me)
“I’m not a gay man. I’m just tempted to have sex with men”
Yes, it could all be a set up. But so many of us have been set up by husbands and wives who have a “same sex attraction”, who compartmentalize their experience, and who find ways to blame us for the failure of marriage, family life, and family finances. All while posing as solid members, in churches and synagogues that do nothing to minister to straight spouses of openly gay people, or acknowledge that the closeted behavior of denial eviscerates a spouse sexually, spiritually, and emotionally.
Many of our congregations do not minister to us, and in many places, faith communities provide scant comfort when our perspective is not focused on whatever the agenda of that particular denomination is. This is true in the liberal, “affirming” and “inclusive” congregations, as well as in conservative, fundamentalist and evangelical ones. Clergy are not trained in how to manage the ongoing crisis of a mixed orientation marriage or divorce. Often the issue is hidden behind treatment for sex addiction, porn addiction, or ex gay ministries that do little to address the spouse’s experience and challenges.
Many straight spouses, whose faith sustains them, find that they must leave their home congregation and look elsewhere for the affirmation and spiritual growth that this crisis demands.
So yes, Reverend Rekers could have been set up by someone wanting to discredit his politics. But for any straight spouse of a gay or lesbian living comfortably in a stained glass closet, please know that the Straight Spouse Network is here for you. We are confidential, non sectarian, and we won’t tell you what to do. We will listen.
There are plenty of religious organizations that advocate for the rights of gays and lesbians. There are plenty of religious organizations that advocate for the exclusivity of male female marriages. There are plenty of political offshoots of faith groups on both sides of Prop 8.
There are no ministries to straight spouses. Clergy who wish to support us have scant resources. For those faith communities who are interested in reaching out to straight spouses, the Straight Spouse Network can be an invaluable resource of information and perspective about this devastating experience.