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Former 'American Idol' runner-up Clay Aiken speaking for gay rights


By Christopher Rocchio, 02/25/2010 

Clay Aiken feels he is ready to give his first speech about gay rights after he publicly confirmed he was gay almost 18 months ago.

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"There are people who are loud and make noise, and there are people who are deliberate and slow and steady," Aiken told the Raleigh, NC News & Observer.

"Right now, at this point in my life, I feel like a slow and steady person."

The American Idol second-season runner-up will deliver his speech this weekend at the Human Rights Campaign Carolinas gala in his home state.

"It brings a whole other side to the conversation," organizer Jodi Madison told the News & Observer about Aiken's participation. "It's fun to watch."

While Aiken initially received a speech writer to help craft his speech, the News & Observer reported he subsequently decided to write it on his own after the original speech was too political and included a slam aimed at former President 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," Aiken told the News & Observer. "My goal is to be hopeful, that it's time for everyone to have equal rights."

In addition, Aiken said his speech will not label gay marriage as the end-all and be-all of the discussion.

"I'm not going to be the person who says it has to be marriage or nothing else," he told the News & Observer.

Aiken confirmed he was gay in September 2008 -- a few months after he had a baby boy via artificial insemination with Jaymes Foster, a record producer and close friend he's known for several year.

Aiken said having a son played a role in his decision to speak about gay rights.

"It's more important to me, as a parent, that my son have all the rights - if he's gay - than it is for me," he told the News & Observer. "I don't want to do anything today that's going to inhibit or be a detriment to his rights."

Although it's his first speech about gay rights and occurring in his home state, Aiken said no family members will be in attendance.

"Some Southern families like to sweep things under the rug," he told the News & Observer. "We just don't talk about it."


(Photo credit Fox)


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