Betty Greene Salwak

Gay Men, Straight Wives: Two Women Show Acceptance and Love

Filed By Betty Greene Salwak | February 11, 2010 4:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Media
Tags: Carol Boltz, Gareth Thomas, Jemma Thomas, married men, ray boltz

Two women have been put in the public spotlight for having married now-famous men who later confessed that they were gay. The spotlight could not have found better examples of gracious acceptance.

Gareth and Jemma Thomas.jpg

Jemma Thomas, wife of gay rugby star Gareth Thomas, states that she has "no regrets" for having married him. Friends as teenagers, the two were married in 2001. Gareth struggled with his orientation before finally coming to terms with it, and he told his wife. Three years later, he told the world as their marriage was coming to an end. But the end of their marriage did not lead to bitterness on her behalf. In a recent article from BBC News, Jemma affirms that they had a "great life together."

Carol Boltz.jpgIn an interesting parallel, Christian singer Ray Boltz came out to the public in the fall of 2008, also three years after his confession to his wife. Married for 30-plus years, Ray and Carol have since divorced amicably, and Carol has become an outspoken advocate for the gay community. She has a blog, "My Heart Goes Out..." which expresses the love she still has for Ray as he faces hateful reactions from the public, Christian and not. She continues to receive ugly emails and comments and faces them with grace and steadfast conviction that one's orientation is God-given and a non-issue in regards to one's faith. Carol is now on the board for SoulForce, a Christian organization campaigning for LGBT acceptance in religious schools and institutions.

Jemma and Carol set an example that is catching the public eye. Their model of acceptance surprises some and angers others, but they are calm defenders of their ex-husbands. Their unique circumstances make them powerful allies. If you have a chance to do so, please offer your supportive comments to both women. While I do not have a link to Jemma Thomas, you can find Carol's email address on her blog.

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When I was much younger than I am now, it seemed to me that almost every transgendered, (male to female), person had been married to a woman at one point and almost all of them had children. Just about all of them cited internal and external pressures to "conform" to the social gender norms as the reason why they married. I'm not here to affirm or condemn that, just to say that I determined to never do that to myself, my potential mate or any potential children. I knew who and what I was before I could read and no amount of denial in the form of irrevocable acts was ever going to change that. I would dearly have loved to have had children but I don't regret any of my choices. I'm convinced that what I did saved a whole lot of angst for a whole host of people. Sometimes I'm lonely but I believe my stress levels are far less than they would be if I had taken the more common path.

Jonathan Justice | February 11, 2010 4:47 PM

Life with Adults, what a concept!

More seriously, these women are telling us that their husbands coming out was the best thing that could happen under the circumstances. However much they may regret what they lost, they did what love commended so that the men they love are free. It would be presumtion on my part to say that they learned this because of what happened to them, it is more likely that they brought it to the table with them.

It seems (with the couples I've worked with) that once the straight partner realizes "It's not about me", love and care can take the place of offense and injury.

Regan DuCasse | February 11, 2010 5:13 PM

Can someone help me out here? The strangest thing about anti gay bigotry is how contradictory it is and loaded with conundrums.
However much a heterosexual expresses disgust for gay people and their sexuality, there is also a firm belief that having sex with a straight person will 'turn' a gay person straight. Why wouldn't the straight person wonder if the OPPOSITE might happen?
There is a lot of squeamishness that children simply talking and learning about sexual orientation will make them gay, but actually having sex with someone gay isn't a problem later on? Why wouldn't a child be seriously confused by that?

While there are virtually immovable theories that early sexual abuse influenced the sexual matrix of a gay person, the same sort of mentality has motivated the rape of lesbians or boys thought to be gay. Curative rape, so to speak. As if to say, if a GAY person commits the rape, that reinforces ss attraction, but if a STRAIGHT person commits the rape, it's supposed to work towards os attraction?
Rape doesn't create attraction of ANY kind, because the rape doesn't occur BASED on attraction to begin with.

Of course those of us with a brain understand that rape doesn't influence ORIENTATION, whether it's the rapist or their victim.

And then there's the "Jesus is the cure" mentality. However intangible Christ is (nuns being a whole other subject about marriage to intangibles or long dead mythological people), churches ALSO encourage mixed hetero/gay marriages and never really ask how it's all going past the marriage ceremony.
There is a lot of assumption and acceptance that the gay person was never gay to begin with and just needed a spouse to 'fix' their situation.

And then if the 'cure' doesn't manifest, and the gay person remains 'broken' why are the respective spouses blamed and not the faulty assumptions of the community that got them together?

Which, it WOULD be a lot easier if the churches and other social networks stopped encouraging such matches and realized that there are gay people FOR gay people, and straight folks for straight folks and THAT'S the way it's supposed to be.
And EVERYONE could be happy and everyone off the hook. And unrealistic expectations could be thrown on the dust heap.

Why keep asserting everyone is supposed to ALL be alike in sexual orientation when there is VERY LITTLE in nature that is identical or that much of the same at all?
Or needs to be?

I hope I've articulated how confusing this all is, without confusing anyone with regard to what I'm trying to say.

Michael @ | February 11, 2010 6:13 PM

Gee, I guess these two loving women won't get invited to appear on Oprah's annual "Wives Betrayed By Their Gay Husbands" show, aka the "Dana McGreevey Hour of Hate."

I know nothing about Ray Boltz but wish him well. However, one can never praise enough the courage of Gareth Thomas. It would be enough that he came out in the hyper macho, hyper homophobic world of rugby came at all, but that he came out while STILL a player is, to the best of my knowledge, unprecedented of anyone of his caliber in any sport.

And one only has to see a few minutes of a single rugby match to know that it makes American football look like kindergarden volley ball.

I married 2 gay men, actually transgenders. I knew they were gay when I married them. That was never a problem. In fact, I realized that I could not satisfy them the way a man could and told them they could date men as long as they kept it out of my face but to never, ever, ever get involved with a woman. The first one I had to pry a couple females off of. The second had never been with a female and had no interest. The marriages were happy until their drug use became an issue. Sex was excellent with the second one. The first one died. The second is alive but I have taken pains to keep him from knowing where I am because he became violent and abusive.

I think gay /straight marriages can be very successful if the couple accepts that one of them is gay. There is no need to get divorced unless they choose and there should be complete honesty in the relationship from the first beginning. Where I live it is very common for gay men and transwomen to marry and and raise children. Often they remain on good terms with their ex-spouses and children and in some cases the straight partner dies first and the gay one finishes raising the kids,sometimes with a gay partner assisting. Ex-wives also take care of their gay husbands during serious illnesses. There is a cultural expectation to marry. And you should see the absolute bliss when the grandkids and even great grands arrive.

In America there is incredible social diversity and trying to make us all the same, as the religious fundamentalists would do, won't work in our salad bowl of a country any more than grinding up lettuce, carrots, onions and tomatoes in a blender creates an appetizing salad.

It's interesting that both couples took 3 years to end their marriages even though one came out. I wonder what those years were like, because that's a long time.

Nicholas Levi | September 6, 2010 9:22 PM

Right on. America is a salad bowl. You are free to marry who you choose to marry. I am a 34 year old virgin gay man. Because of my religious convictions I have never had sexual intercourse with anyone because I am saving myself for marriage. It would be ideal to marry a woman and raise a family but I am worried about the real life experiences of people who end up in divorce because one of the spouses was gay. On the flip side, I am also worried because my very traditional family considers gay marriage an abomination in the eyes of God and would rather see me married to a woman. I really want to have kids of my own someday and I think I will be loyal to a wife. I would like to marry a woman who would accept me as a gay man and understands that I would marry her by choice in order to raise a family of my own someday. This is a very rare situation as I am very rare. I am a rare bird.