Country Western Singer John Rich Comes Out … as a Bigot

I have to confess before today I had never heard of Country Western duo Big and Rich featuring John Rich (pictured). Alas, I still wish I hadn't heard of him. Via Pam's House Blend comes word that Rich recently went on the The Steve Gill Show (a Rush Limbaugh wannabe) where he announced he supported Fred Thompson for president — and compared being gay to incest. Said Rich:

"I think if you legalize that [same-sex marriage], you've got to legalize some other things that are pretty unsavory. You can call me a radical, but how can you tell an aunt that she can't marry her nephew if they are really in love and sharing the bills? How can you tell them they can't get married, but something else that's unnatural can happen?"

What an ass. Sadly, there isn't anything new about this kind of bigotry, but it appears there is a backlash brewing in Nashville over Rich's comments. Howie Klein over at The Huffington Post reports that gay and non-gay employees at Warner Brothers — Rich's record label — have been making their unhappiness over Rich's comments known as have some Nashville radio broadcasters.

And Rich has issued a statement about his earlier comments:

My earlier comments on same-sex marriage don’t reflect my full views on the broader issues regarding tolerance and the treatment of gays and lesbians in our society. I apologize for that and wish to state clearly my views. I oppose same-sex marriage because my father and minister brought me up to believe that marriage is an institution for the union of a man and a woman. However, I also believe that intolerance, bigotry and hatred are wrong. People should be judged based on their merits, not on their sexual orientation. We are all children of God and should be valued and respected.

And what better way to express the belief we should be valued and respected by comparing our relationships to incest? Bleah. Rich can take his damage control statement and blow them out of his cowboy hat. It's 2007 and after the Tim Hardaways and Jerry Falwells and the homophobic athletes and rap stars and all the rest of the bigots who feel free to slander us, I'm sick of their lame apologies and statements. It's not enough. Not by a long shot.

If Rich really wants to show his respect how about a $25,000 donation to the Human Rights Campaign and a fundraiser for the Trevor Project? Then it might be possible to convince me that Rich is anything more than another privileged, straight male bigot. Give me Tim McGraw any day of the week.

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