In a New York Times profile, Davis remembers growing up up in an “era where your parents’ friends were all called aunt and uncle” and having an “aunt and an aunt” they saw “on holidays and other times.”
“We never talked about it, but I just understood that they were a couple,” Davis said.
Especially interesting is an anecdote Davis relates from her youth:
Once when she and her father were watching a Rock Hudson movie, Ms. Davis said, she remarked that the actor “looked weird” kissing his female co-star. She said her father explained that Mr. Hudson “would rather be kissing a man,” and conveyed, without using the words homosexual or gay, the idea that “some men are born wanting to love another man.”
Davis sings an all-together different tune from her older brother Michael, who made headlines earlier this week when he compared gay marriage to bestiality and murder.
However, she does concede that her father “did not believe that gayness was a choice” because “as a straight man and an old-fashioned man, it’s not like he understood it.”
As governor of California, Reagan joined President Jimmy Carter and other Democrats in opposing a ballot measure to bar gays and lesbians from working in public schools. But as president, he was heavily criticized for his slow response to the AIDS epidemic, even after his friend, Hudson, died from it in 1985.
Photo: Ronald Reagan Presidential Library