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Posts Tagged ‘Patrick Abner’

‘There Will Be a Time When Coming Out is Not a Big Story’

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By any measure, 2013 was the Year of the Queer, especially for network anchors.

In addition to the death of DOMA, the increasing acceptance of same-sex marriage, and the Boy Scouts of America’s pledge of allegiance to sexual diversity, ABC’s Robin Roberts and Sam Champion and NBC’s Jenna Wolfe joined the growing pantheon of openly-gay anchors.

All three of their revelations were greeted with virtually unanimous support, which leads me to wonder: Have we reached a societal tipping point for acceptance of homosexual news personalities? Or does the culture of celebrity require that such disclosures launch blazing headlines?

Yes and yes.

“As long as we keep progressing, there will be a time when coming out is not a big story,” says CNN’s Don Lemon, 47, who disclosed his sexuality in his 2011 memoir. “… Maybe not in the near future; maybe over the course of a decade. I’m not an authority on when that will be. I’m not Nostradamus. I can’t predict things.”

To MSNBC’s Thomas Roberts, we’re already at that point. Out since 2006, his September 2012 wedding to Patrick Abner was featured in the Sunday New York Times ’‘Vows” section.

“Times have changed,” Roberts, 41, says. “We have a President who believes in marriage equality, and a Supreme Court that believes in marriage equality, and more and more states that are enacting laws to recognize marriage equality. I think it’s fantastic.”

The momentum from this cultural sea change has enabled “great, wonderful people” such as Robin Roberts et. al “to step up and claim their rightful spots,” Roberts adds. “They’re showing that a successful personal life and a successful professional life can live within the same sphere.”

Roberts and Lemon point out that such exposure is crucial in the face of raging homophobes like ‘Duck Dynasty’ star Phil Robertson. Robertson is “free to cast aspersions,” Roberts says. “He throws gay people on the fire and uses the Bible as an excuse.”

Amen. Got a match?

Robin Roberts’ and Sam Champion’s approaches to acknowledging their sexuality publicly represent another cultural tipping point. Eschewing methods of the past — declarations on national magazine covers, for example — both chose a subtle, understated approach.

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In Year-End Message of Gratitude, Robin Roberts Thanks Longtime Girlfriend

robin roberts amber laignRobin Roberts surprised her Facebook followers this afternoon in an end-of-year post. She came out publicly for the first time, mentioning her longtime girlfriend Amber LaignRoberts has been out to her family, friends and co-workers for years, but this is the first time she’s publicly acknowledged her sexuality.

I am grateful for my entire family, my long time girlfriend, Amber, and friends as we prepare to celebrate a glorious new year together.

Roberts and Laign have been together for 10 years. Laign, a massage therapist who works with patients recovering from injuries, is originally from the San Francisco Bay Area.

A year ago today, Roberts reached the 100 day mark following her bone marrow transplant. Her posting today is a message of thanks for all who helped her along the way.

Roberts joins a short list of TV news anchors who have come out publicly. In July, 2012 CNN’s Anderson Cooper  came out during a Q&A with Andrew Sullivan. In Oct., 2012, former “GMA” weatherman Sam Champion was at the wedding of MSNBC’s Thomas Roberts to Patrick Abner when he let it slip that he was going to marry his boyfriend, Rubem Robierb.

Real Anchors at ‘Anchorman’ Fete Party Like its 1979

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Several “Today” show anchors went back in time Friday night to celebrate the “Anchorman 2″ at New York’s Crosby Street Hotel. Classy on the Rocks, as it was dubbed, was the brainchild of Christina Geist, wife of “Today” show 9am co-anchor Wilie Geist. The Geists along with Savannah Guthrie and her fiancé Mike Feldman and “Today” weekend anchor Erica Hill and her husband David Yount.

“Today” and “Nightly News” anchor Lester Holt and his wife Carol Hagen took the prize for best outfits — bell bottoms and matching afros. Guests included Thomas Roberts and his husband Patrick Abner as well as NBC News colleagues and friends of the hosts. Costumes were required. Guests snacked on sliders, chips and guac and popcorn and the bar stayed open during a screening of the movie.

Despite an unprecedented marketing blitz, the Will Ferrell flick came in second at the box office this weekend behind the latest Hobbit movie, taking in $26.8 million bringing the 5-day total to $40 million. The original “Anchorman” realeased in July, 2004 took in $28.4 in its opening weekend.

Sam Champion Getting Married

“Good Morning America” weatherman Sam Champion is planning to tie the knot with his partner Rubem Robierb later this year. The pending nuptials will be reported in a Sunday New York Times column (online now) about last weekend’s wedding of MSNBC anchor Thomas Roberts and Patrick Abner.

Among the 170 or so guests at the reception was Sam Champion, the weather anchor at ABC’s “Good Morning America.” He took a turn on the dance floor with his partner, the photographer Rubem Robierb. “We’re getting married New Year’s Eve in Miami,” Mr. Champion said in the spirit of the moment. Mr. Robierb corrected him: “We’ll do it here officially, and then have a party in Miami.”

On Twitter this afternoon Champion wrote, “I’ve never been happier to share a bit of personal news!!” Champion and Brazilian-born Robierb split time between New York and Miami. New York is one of six states and the District of Columbia to have legalized same-sex marriage.

> More: The well-wishes are coming in on Twitter:

Diane Sawyer: and everybody here celebrating Sam’s happiness RT:@SamChampion never been happier to share a bit of personal news!

Ben Sherwood: Congratulations @SamChampion & Rubem Robeirb — thrilled for both of you — wishing the very best.

Bianna Golodryga: Congratulations Sam!!

Josh Elliott: Congrats, to the best friend and colleague imaginable…

George Stephanopoulos: So happy for you @SamChampion – A big family hug from me, @AliEWentworth and the girls!

What Anderson Cooper’s Gay Acknowledgment Means

I’ll take ‘Remarkable Grasp of the Obvious’ for $200, please, Alex.

Though Anderson Cooper‘s sexuality had been an open secret forever, his emergence from the closet today – via an email to The Daily Beast’s Andrew Sullivan, made public with Cooper’s permission – is still big news.

CNN’s star anchor is now the most prominent gay TV newsman in America. Even in a post-modern culture in which celebrities’ coming out barely triggers a ripple anymore, that distinction matters.

It matters because Cooper is a universally-respected journalist who has repeatedly distinguished himself in the field. Also, it doesn’t hurt that he is movie-star handsome and a Yalie.

Viewers forgave Cooper long ago for having hosted “The Mole,” and his occasional fit of girly giggles on “Anderson Cooper 360″ is seen as endearing. No one disputes his work ethic: In addition to reporting for “60 Minutes,” he launched a daytime talk show in the fall.

It’s no mere coincidence that Cooper is on assignment for “60″ and unavailable today. He’s never been comfortable publicly discussing any part of his personal life, let alone his sexuality. Today, in a sense, he let someone else do the talking for him.

Regardless, it was a cause for celebration among fellow ‘out’ TV anchors.

“This is a fantastic thing,” says MSNBC daytime anchor Thomas Roberts, a CNN alum. “This allows the success and happiness in his personal life to catch up with the success and happiness in his professional life. The two should not be mutually exclusive. I’m glad he can have that balance.”

Roberts came out publicly in 2006, when he worked at CNN. He and his partner of 12 years, Patrick Abner, community liaison for a pharmaceutical company, plan to be married in September in New York. Cooper is invited.

So is Cooper’s CNN colleague, weekend anchor Don Lemon. He labels today’s

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