Pop singer Clay Aiken speaks with The News & Observer about his upcoming appearance at the Human Rights Campaign Carolinas Gala in Raleigh:

Clay Aiken will take the stage at the convention center Saturday night to do something he has never done before: deliver a speech about gay rights.But don’t expect him to pound his fist and scream for the right to get married.

“There are people who are loud and make noise, and there are people who are deliberate and slow and steady,” Aiken said during an interview this week at a downtown coffee shop. “Right now, at this point in my life, I feel like a slow and steady person.”

And, Aiken believes full equality doesn’t necessarily come in the form of “marriage”…

HRC provided a speechwriter to help Aiken, 31, with his remarks, but he decided to write his own. The original speech was too political, Aiken said, and included a slam aimed at George W. Bush.

“I don’t feel like this is the place to be horribly politically charged and bash people and talk about the wrongs that have been done,” he said. “My goal is to be hopeful, that it’s time for everyone to have equal rights.”

For Aiken, that means inheritance rights and hospital-visitation rights and all the other rights that heterosexual couples take for granted, including the right to be married.

But, he said, “I’m not going to be the person who says it has to be marriage or nothing else.”

The most basic need, he said, is that everyone have the same rights. He believes it will happen, although it could take decades.

Catch the whole interview at The N&O

Matt Comer

Matt Comer previously served as editor from October 2007 through August 2015 and as a staff writer afterward in 2016.

7 replies on “Clay Aiken at HRC: Slow and steady on progress”

  1. Clay Aiken is a highly intelligent man. It doesn’t surprise me at all that he is writing his speech himself.I look forward to hearing his speech and those of the other people who will be part of this evening.

  2. I am looking forward to hearing Clay Aiken’s speech. This is an important topic to him and I am sure he has thought carefully as to what he wants to say.

    I am sure Clay will be articulate, intelligent and heartfelt as he speaks to the Gala audience.

  3. give me a break, self hating gay guy, whom couldn’t make up his mind if he was gay are not, gay before Idol, in the closet while in idol, still in the closet after till questionable im’s and emails,,pic surface, now out completely, and we as a community don’t mind that he used us.as usual HRC just love those types.. don’t they, Clay aiken is the body of what is wrong with our community.. Gay only when is ok to be,str8 all other time..

  4. I hope the text of his speech will be available online after Saturday. I don’t live in the south, but I do know first hand how difficult it is to be gay and born into a strict religious family that has never had one single openly gay member. EVER. Self hate? You bet. Who escapes that? Most of us get past it in our own time. Organizations like the HRC remind us we have value. Time to leave the idiocy and judgements behind.

  5. I think Clay Aiken is a perfectly fine and appropriate guest speaker for the HRC dinner.

    His comments about the dinner not needing to be horribly political charged fits well with what I’ve witnessed of HRC efforts and strategy in general.

    That he feels equality could take decades seems to match the timeline that HRC appears to be working on for our rights.

    In summation, I think he is the ideal face and speaker for HRC.

  6. You should read in the Winston-Salem Journal the incredible amounts or ignorant Fundamentalist and Republican death rant that is printed there. It is disgusting and demoralizing. How in the Hell did I get stuck in this town?

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