Author: Ryan McDonald
Interviewer: Lawrence Ferber
Midler has been adored by gay audiences for her entire career. So
why is she so wishy - washy about supporting same-sex marriage?
Once upon a time, before it was chic to befriend gay men, Bette
Midler worked in gay bathhouses and went on national TV and talked
about it. Gays swarmed to her side, and not long after, the Divine
Miss M was sashaying her way to throngs of gay fans and quickly
becoming an icon and advocate for the community. But that was then
Ė nearly three decades ago. Nowadays the vivacious entertainer does
what she can to dodge questions about gay marriage, seemingly more
concerned with not making waves than with the equal rights of a
good chunk of her fan base.
Case in point: On Larry King Live last November Midler failed to
lend her public support to same-sex marriage, questioned gay menís
interest in monogamy, and spouted her prudish parental remarks regarding
the famous Britney-Madonna kiss.
Soon after the King interview, a letter in support of gay marriages
surfaced on the Internet, supposedly written by Midler. She quickly
denied being the author.
Midler, who gave the following interview during a recent press junket
for her upcoming film The Stepford Wives, seems to have forgotten
that her most loyal fans Ė those who support has given her four-decade
career its success and buoyancy Ė are gay. It seems weíve lost Betteís
wind beneath our wings. -- Ryan MacDonald
I get a gay marriage quote?
As soon as Iím gay Iím going to get married. What do you want me
to say? You want me to talk about my letter that I didnít write?
was up with that?
I donít know. I got the history of it: This wonderful
guy (Mister D: She's talkin about me! Who
knew???) who runs my Web site found out this girl had written
a blog. It was on her blog, and then either she or somebody else
posted it on Melissa Ethridgeís site, and from there they signed
my name and sent it all over the country. I thought it was really
a nice letter; it was beautifully written. But I didnít write it,
and I was taken aback because it is shocking that someone can take
your name and assign something to you that you didnít say. Thatís
not American, really, so it was shocking to me. But I thought it
was fabulous Ö. It was a great letter.
its sentiment stand? Do you agree?
To tell you the truth, I have not done the due diligence on it that
I should be doing. I donít know Ö. I understand the laws and wanting
to be Ö I donít understand any of the politics and any of the benefit
things, health insurance, the children taken away, and all that.
I havenít done that part. I havenít done enough research or reading
on it to have an informed opinion.
So I have to do that and tell you the truth: Iíve been on the road
and wouldnít want to say the wrong thing. I donít want to offend
anybody. I like everyone; I want everyone to be happy. I just donít
know what it means. So Iíd like to do the reading and then figure
out what all these people are talking about.
you do that I look forward to your coming out and saying something.
We need you, Bette.
I donít think you do. I think youíre doing just fine.