Oral Roberts Grandson, Randy Roberts Potts, Talks Coming Out Gay
BY ON TOP MAGAZINE STAFF
In a 30-minute sermon delivered Sunday at Tulsa’s All Souls Unitarian Church, Potts talked about his experience as a gay man in an evangelical world.
He told parishioners that a closeted life led his uncle Ronnie to commit suicide, and that he nearly followed in his footsteps.
“I feel the burden of my uncle’s death each and every day,” Potts said. “I know I can’t fix it, but I almost relived his life in every way: marrying young, having children, becoming a teacher, becoming suicidal. All because I was never told his story, because his story as a gay man has been hushed up. This system of mendacity, of bluffing,
of pretending, of trying to pray the gay away has already left one casualty in my family and almost caused another.”
In an interview with the Tulsa World, Potts said he grew up in the Roberts family compound just north of Oral Roberts University. He was close to his grandmother, Evelyn Roberts, but rarely saw his famous grandfather.
While he knew from an early age that he was attracted to men – and at 18 announced he was bisexual – it wasn’t until several years into his marriage to a college girlfriend that he announced he was gay.
“I told my wife a few years later that I had to leave, and we were divorced legally in June of 2006,” Potts said. “I have been openly gay ever since.”
Potts was ostracized for his decision. He was denied a seat in the family’s seating section at his grandparents’ funerals.
Roberta Potts, Randy Roberts Potts’ mother, told the paper that she and her husband are “not homophobic.”
“We have no ill feelings toward homosexual persons,” she said.
“But that doesn’t mean we approve of his conduct,” she added. “We do believe what the Bible says.”
In other news: NO.44 MAKES GAY HISTORY AGAIN & AGAIN!!!!!!! ANYONE WHO SAYS THIS MAN IS OF GOD IS ANTI-CHRIST PERIOD!!!!!
In a ‘quiet moment,’ gay judge makes history
By Dana Milbank
Even some of the chamber’s most ardent social conservatives – Tom Coburn, John Cornyn, Jeff Sessions, Jon Kyl – cast votes for Oetken. When the lopsided vote tally of 80-13 was read out, there was no cheer or reaction of any kind. Senators continued their conversations as if nothing unusual had happened.
It would be premature to believe that Oetken’s easy confirmation heralds some new post-sexual era in American politics; the fight over gay marriage continues undiminished. But it was a signal moment nonetheless. The nominee’s sexual orientation was deemed unimportant — or at least less important than his moderate politics and his pro-business record (he’s a corporate lawyer, with Cablevision).
“As the first openly gay man to be confirmed as a federal judge,” Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) told a nearly empty chamber before the vote, “he will be a symbol of how much we have achieved as a country in just the last few decades. And importantly, he will give hope to many talented young lawyers who until now thought their paths might be limited because of their sexual orientation. When Paul becomes Judge Oetken, he will be living proof to all those young lawyers that it really does get better.”
But Schumer observed, correctly, that this bit of history was an “otherwise quiet moment” for the Senate. The ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Chuck Grassley (Iowa) gave a brief speech in support of Oetkin, mentioning the nominee’s Iowa roots but nothing about his homosexuality.
The proceedings were so routine that Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy made only a spare mention of this “important milestone” before using his floor time to deliver an unrelated speech about the FBI director. Because there were no more speakers, most of the 30 minutes allotted for debate were passed in a quorum call.
Closeted gay men have probably served as judges since the beginning of the Republic. And a lesbian, Deborah Batts, has been a federal judge since 1994. But when Batts went before the Judiciary Committee, her homosexuality was left unmentioned in the confirmation hearings.
Oetkin, by contrast, downplayed nothing about his sexual orientation: his work with Lambda Legal and the ACLU Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Project, or his co-authorship of a Supreme Court amicus brief opposing an anti-gay law. At his confirmation hearing, he introduced Grassley to his partner.
Opposition was relegated to where it belongs: in the dark recesses of the Internet. “A vote to confirm this nominee is in effect a vote to subject New York by force of judicial fiat to the homosexual agenda, lock, stock, and barrel,” wrote one commentator on World Net Daily. The posting warned of “Oetken’s homosexuality on the sleeve approach” and said “he is likely as well to harbor animosity toward the proponents of traditional sexual morality.”
Tellingly, it was signed by “Frank J. Bleckwenn” – a pseudonym.
Grassley and his colleagues had no use for such poison. “Mr. Oetkin grew up in my state of Iowa,” Grassley said, calling the candidate a “consensus nominee.” He recited Oetkin’s credentials, including his Yale Law degree and Supreme Court clerkship. “I support this nomination and congratulate him on his professional accomplishments,” Grassley said.
To his credit, that is all Grassley thought relevant.