The Man, The Wife, and the Wardrobe

The Man, The Wife, and the Wardrobe
Rachel Birdsell

Rachel Birdsell

This week NPR ran a story about Allan Edwards, pastor of Kiski Valley Presbyterian Church in western Pennsylvania. Allan is gay, but has decided to marry a woman. He doesn’t identify as being gay, but does admit that he’s attracted to men.

In other words he’s gay. He thought about finding a church that doesn’t think being gay is a sin, but he decided that the view that it wasn’t didn’t fit with his interpretation of the Bible.

That sounds like some emotional self-flagellation to me. Allan’s wife, Leeanne, knows he’s attracted to men, but the two of them decided that any relationship is faced with temptations to cheat, so him being gay isn’t any different. That’s all fine and dandy except that the problem isn’t about him cheating.

The problem is that he’s gay and married to a woman. The problem is that while at the moment he thinks that being gay is sinful and goes against the Bible, it doesn’t mean that 10 years down the road he won’t change his mind and decide to be the man he really is. The problem is that his wife thinks he can keep stuffing his true self back into the closet, and that this stuffing will continue for the rest of their lives and they will all live happily ever after. The problem is that he’s being dishonest with himself, and that she’s being naïve.

But the biggest problem in all of this is that Leeanne is pregnant. This means that a child who didn’t have a say in the matter will be affected by Allan’s failure to be honest with himself, and with Leeanne’s inability to see that good intentions don’t usually trump someone’s true nature.

I think that even those of you who don’t agree with same-sex marriage should be able to see that when someone is attracted to the same sex, lying about it isn’t going to change it. Allan lying to himself and everyone else isn’t going to change the fact that probably not so deep down inside he’s continually questioning how long he can keep up the charade. Lies don’t make gay people straight any more than lies make straight people gay. And if you think being gay is icky and is a choice, please educate yourself.

But, what are Allan and Leeanne supposed to do now? I’d vote for an amicable divorce and then raise the baby as two loving adults, but I don’t think that’s going to happen. Instead, I’m afraid an emotionally fraught, messy divorce with a child or two caught in the mix is going to be in the future.

Unfortunately, Allan and Leeanne aren’t the exception to the rule. It’s heartbreaking that there are so many other people who can’t be who they really are, whether it’s because of religion or because they’re afraid that people won’t be able to accept them. Until homosexuality stops being a taboo, and until it’s as readily accepted as being straight is, the problem isn’t going to go away. LGBT rights have come a long way, baby, but there is still a long row to hoe. I’ve got my farming implement. What about you?

Rachel Birdsell is a freelance writer and graphic artist. You can reach her at

Categories: Commentary