RENEE ORDWAY

Catholic couple and Kim Kardashian may change minds on gay marriage

Posted Dec. 02, 2011, at 7:13 p.m.
Last modified Sept. 07, 2012, at 7:40 p.m.
Renee Ordway
Renee Ordway

The lives of reality TV star Kim Kardashian and Paul and Jeanette Rediker of Fort Fairfield could not be further apart.

Yet of late the names of all three have been rolling off tongues during conversations about gay marriage.

Take this beauty that went viral on Facebook pages around the world shortly after Kardashian announced she was divorcing her husband just 72 days after their exorbitant made-for-TV wedding.

“You think gay marriage threatens the sanctity of the institution? Two words — Kim Kardashian.”

I reposted that one myself.

Twice.

I know she’s a superstar and she sure is pretty and her show entertains teenage and twenty-something girls, including my own. But I certainly can’t fathom that anyone actually takes her, or her televised life, seriously.

She can spend her money, or the money of those willing to give it to her, anyway she wishes. She can get married three times a year if she’d like and have lavish parties and wear three different bridal gowns during each event.

I don’t care.

And I don’t care if her marriages last 72 days or 72 hours.

But one must admit it a bit ironic that she can do that over and over again if she’d like — with the blessing of the state of California each time — but only if she marries a man.

Because you know there’s that whole sanctity of the institution thingy.

Paul and Jeanette Rediker, I would argue, know a thing or two about the sanctity of marriage.

They’re a nice Catholic couple from Fort Fairfield who raised two daughters. Paul served his country in Vietnam and returned home and fell in love with Jeanette.

They’ve been married 42 years and they correct one another and nudge one another when necessary, as do most couples who have spent the better parts of their lives at each other’s side.

They appear to be as normal a Maine couple as there ever could be.

And they just might be the best chance that same-sex marriage advocates in Maine have of a successful 2012 ballot initiative.

Well, them, and that little boost that Kim Kardashian has given the movement.

While living quietly and raising their girls in Fort Fairfield, the Redikers probably never envisioned they would become such public faces in the long and often contentious same-sex marriage debate.

Now they are the stars of an incredibly powerful ad paid for by the Gay Lesbian Advocates and Defenders, or GLAD, organization and the EqualityMaine Foundation.

And Mr. and Mrs. Rediker knock it out of the park.

They talk about learning that their oldest daughter, Michelle, was gay and how they sought answers from their priest and how he reminded them that their daughter was the same girl that they loved before they found out.

They talk of their struggle to come to terms with it.

In a portion of the ad that is not in the final clip, but is posted on Mainethewaylifeshouldbe.com, Paul Rediker is perfectly charming when he tries to find the words he’s searching for.

“We weren’t um … we weren’t always so …”

“Gay-friendly?” his wife whispers to him from off camera.

“Gay-friendly. That’s a good way to put it, or user-friendly, you could say; whatever you want to call it.”

But whatever you call it, the Redikers stepped up to their daughter’s side and have willingly joined in the fight.

They want their daughter to be able to marry her partner in her hometown — just once — with the state of Maine’s blessing.

They do care.

And I’m betting that they are going to change some minds.

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