A Free-Thinking Republican Woman

Check out this cool article from The Advocate about an evangelical Christian who supports marriage equality. 


Kathy Potts, an evangelical Christian and former Iowa committee chairwoman for the Rick Perry campaign, talks about the epiphany that has her supporting marriage equality and the fight to change her party from the inside.

Kathy Potts had a complicated introduction to gay people, even by the standards of her Mississippi upbringing and Bible school education. She remembers that her maternal grandparents, whose last name happened to be “Gay,” received hate mail and phone calls in the 1970s after the Stonewall riots brought national visibility to the burgeoning rights movement. When her uncle’s wife left him and came out as a lesbian, family members joked that his ex had only married him for the surname. Her first in-depth discussions about homosexuality occurred in the early 1980s with a neighbor who identified as “ex-gay.” And there was a time in the not-so-distant past when she would not watch Ellen DeGeneres on TV because she did not want to be “influenced to be like her.”

All that changed three years ago when her son met and married a young woman whose mother was in a long-term lesbian relationship. Potts met her future in-laws shortly before the wedding and left the meeting embarrassed about the stereotypes she had carried to the encounter.

“I was just freaking out: ‘This just can’t happen,’” she recalls thinking before their first conversation. “And then it dawned on me, this wasn’t worth losing my son over. And then once I started hanging around with them, I’m like, ‘This is insane.’”

A Charismatic Christian who now attends church sporadically, Potts attributes much of her former bias to her faith experience. Her conversations with other Christians focused almost exclusively on sexual activity and dehumanized gay people.

“I just thought it was all about sex,” she said. “That’s what everything was based on: sex, sex, sex, sex. You were expecting that they were constantly going to be hanging on each other and making out. I’d never thought of anyone as people. It was just all based on sex.”

The viewpoint did not extend to her son or three other children she raised with her husband, Tom. His employment brought the family from Mississippi to Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

“I raised my children to be independent, thank God, so they didn’t necessarily go with everything I said,” said Potts.

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