Conservative Dixie Carter on her gay fans

Timothy Kincaid

April 11th, 2010

The incomparable Dixie Carter was not much like her character Julia Sugarbaker. Julie was outspoken and liberal, while Dixie was conservative and more reserved. And Dixie Carter was a Republican and endorsed some Republican candidates.

But, like many Hollywood Republicans, she was not anti-gay. What follows is a quote from a MetroWeekly article in 1998.

MW: Let’s get some opinions from you. Do you have any thoughts on gay rights?

CARTER: I think that gay rights should exist.

MW: Let me be more specific. What about the possibility of gay marriage?

CARTER: That’s hard for me, because I’m very old fashioned, very old-timey. So that idea is hard for me. On the other hand, maybe the most loving marriage that I’ve ever seen is a gay marriage. It has not been codified as such by the church, but it is a marriage. And has been for years and years and years. But to answer your question, I have to work through what marriage means — and the first thing in my mind goes to is that marriage is for the procreation of the race. It’s a sacrament to unite people so that they can begin a family and have children. But Hal Holbrook and I got married at an age past when we can expect to have children. So here I am in a very happy marriage that I think is fine. So if I feel that way about my marriage to Hal, why would I have a problem with a gay marriage? Still, it’s hard for me. I’m very traditional.

MW: Another issue that’s been raised recently in a big way is called “reparative therapy,” where gay people are saying they’ve been cured through various ministries led by the right wing.

CARTER: I think the word cure is insulting, isn’t it?

MW: Yes. And of course the danger is that it suggests homosexuality is a disease, which it’s not.

CARTER: Tell me, are these people who are “cured,” are they ever going to be happy?

MW: It’s hard to say.

CARTER: Well, down the line, it will be discovered whether or not they will be happy. I hate to use this corny expression, but everybody has got to find out who they are and what their needs are. And putting yourself in a straight jacket for appearance’s sake is not going to get it. …. But as I’ve said, I’m old-fashioned. … I feel like such an anachronistic person, but I am slowly coming around — my children are slowly getting me close to where I should be. Maybe by the turn of the century, I’ll be up with everybody else.

Carter may have thought of herself as old-fashioned and anachronistic. But think of how much better life would be if today’s conservatives had the wisdom that Dixie Carter had 22 12 years ago.

Evan Hurst

April 11th, 2010

Yep, that’s exactly what I was thinking. In 1998, conservative Dixie Carter from Tennessee had already wrapped her head around THAT much. Not only that, but she expressed a willingness to learn and listen.


April 11th, 2010

That’s twelve years, by my count. A minor mistake, but a rather jarring and maybe significant one.


April 11th, 2010

::sigh:: I remember when you could be like Ms. Carter and be a Republican. That was before “RNOs” and “purity tests.”


April 11th, 2010

I wonder if she ever came around as she seemed to suspect she would.

Lindoro Almaviva

April 11th, 2010

This little section is so amazing and so rich in insights to the human mind and how we thing I just love it. Let’s boil it down:

DC realizes her thinking is old fashioned and in doing so acknowledges that the young generation is having to teach her to update her views.

She contrasts her beliefs to her own personal life and concedes that she herself would not pass muster to her believes and concluded that something must be wrong with them.

She realizes that the scope of what we call humanity is too broad to be understood by small labels and openly questions the need for them. (Have we realized that her words came to be all to true 12 years after when it came to reparative therapy and people speaking out against it?)

She realizes that some of her thinking is way out of line with what it should be and says “I’m work in progress; I’ll get there.”

Now compare and contrast her attitude to the attitudes of many in her generation wanting to impose their beliefs in the rest of the population and accusing us of being the ones who are trying to impose something on them.

How pathetic and backwards a 70 year old conservative just made them all look. Thanks Dixie.


April 11th, 2010

Job well done! I love your article.Mrs. Holbrook was indeed a part of the lives of many. There isn’t much left to say except. R.I.P Dixie Carter…and thank you.


April 11th, 2010

Very thoughtful comments by her. Thanks for posting this interview.

Frank H

April 12th, 2010

“… putting yourself in a straight jacket for appearance’s sake …”
I always thought the correct spelling was “straitjacket,” but this unintentional pun seemed more appropriate.
(Then I looked it up and found that straightjacket [one word] is an acceptable variant spelling.)


April 13th, 2010

@Frank H: “Straight jacket” is a great play on words.

@BTB: I click on “Straight Allies” related links and I see that this is the only one. I would like to see more: Straight Allies influencing other straights I believe are the predominant way those that are anti-gay will come around.

Leave A Comment

All comments reflect the opinions of commenters only. They are not necessarily those of anyone associated with Box Turtle Bulletin. Comments are subject to our Comments Policy.

(Required, never shared)

PLEASE NOTE: All comments are subject to our Comments Policy.


Latest Posts

The Things You Learn from the Internet

"The Intel On This Wasn't 100 Percent"

From Fake News To Real Bullets: This Is The New Normal

NC Gov McCrory Throws In The Towel

Colorado Store Manager Verbally Attacks "Faggot That Voted For Hillary" In Front of 4-Year-Old Son

Associated Press Updates "Alt-Right" Usage Guide

A Challenge for Blue Bubble Democrats

Baptist Churches in Dallas, Austin Expelled Over LGBT-Affirming Stance

Featured Reports

What Are Little Boys Made Of?

In this original BTB Investigation, we unveil the tragic story of Kirk Murphy, a four-year-old boy who was treated for “cross-gender disturbance” in 1970 by a young grad student by the name of George Rekers. This story is a stark reminder that there are severe and damaging consequences when therapists try to ensure that boys will be boys.

Slouching Towards Kampala: Uganda’s Deadly Embrace of Hate

When we first reported on three American anti-gay activists traveling to Kampala for a three-day conference, we had no idea that it would be the first report of a long string of events leading to a proposal to institute the death penalty for LGBT people. But that is exactly what happened. In this report, we review our collection of more than 500 posts to tell the story of one nation’s embrace of hatred toward gay people. This report will be updated continuously as events continue to unfold. Check here for the latest updates.

Paul Cameron’s World

In 2005, the Southern Poverty Law Center wrote that “[Paul] Cameron’s ‘science’ echoes Nazi Germany.” What the SPLC didn”t know was Cameron doesn’t just “echo” Nazi Germany. He quoted extensively from one of the Final Solution’s architects. This puts his fascination with quarantines, mandatory tattoos, and extermination being a “plausible idea” in a whole new and deeply disturbing light.

From the Inside: Focus on the Family’s “Love Won Out”

On February 10, I attended an all-day “Love Won Out” ex-gay conference in Phoenix, put on by Focus on the Family and Exodus International. In this series of reports, I talk about what I learned there: the people who go to these conferences, the things that they hear, and what this all means for them, their families and for the rest of us.

Prologue: Why I Went To “Love Won Out”
Part 1: What’s Love Got To Do With It?
Part 2: Parents Struggle With “No Exceptions”
Part 3: A Whole New Dialect
Part 4: It Depends On How The Meaning of the Word "Change" Changes
Part 5: A Candid Explanation For "Change"

The Heterosexual Agenda: Exposing The Myths

At last, the truth can now be told.

Using the same research methods employed by most anti-gay political pressure groups, we examine the statistics and the case studies that dispel many of the myths about heterosexuality. Download your copy today!

And don‘t miss our companion report, How To Write An Anti-Gay Tract In Fifteen Easy Steps.

Testing The Premise: Are Gays A Threat To Our Children?

Anti-gay activists often charge that gay men and women pose a threat to children. In this report, we explore the supposed connection between homosexuality and child sexual abuse, the conclusions reached by the most knowledgeable professionals in the field, and how anti-gay activists continue to ignore their findings. This has tremendous consequences, not just for gay men and women, but more importantly for the safety of all our children.

Straight From The Source: What the “Dutch Study” Really Says About Gay Couples

Anti-gay activists often cite the “Dutch Study” to claim that gay unions last only about 1½ years and that the these men have an average of eight additional partners per year outside of their steady relationship. In this report, we will take you step by step into the study to see whether the claims are true.

The FRC’s Briefs Are Showing

Tony Perkins’ Family Research Council submitted an Amicus Brief to the Maryland Court of Appeals as that court prepared to consider the issue of gay marriage. We examine just one small section of that brief to reveal the junk science and fraudulent claims of the Family “Research” Council.

Daniel Fetty Doesn’t Count

Daniel FettyThe FBI’s annual Hate Crime Statistics aren’t as complete as they ought to be, and their report for 2004 was no exception. In fact, their most recent report has quite a few glaring holes. Holes big enough for Daniel Fetty to fall through.