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Grandparents of Gay Man Speak Out in Powerful Video for Marriage Equality: WATCH


Jacob Reitan, an activist and friend of Towleroad who helped found the Soulforce Equality Ride back in 2006, has put together a touching video with his gay cousin and his grandparents in response to efforts seeking a voter referendum on Washington state's marriage equality law.


Jacob tells us:

My grandparents, Rev. John and Dorothy Reitan, live in Tacoma, WA. They have been watching the news closely these last weeks as the Washington state legislature debated and then made history as they passed a bill making marriage legal for gay couples. They rejoiced when Governor Chris Gregoire signed the measure bringing marriage equality to Washington.

Right now that law may be at risk as those opposing it are mounting a campaign to put it to a vote this November. It is important to Grandmom and Grandad to speak out and share their support for marriage equality both as Washington citizens and as grandparents who have two gay grandchildren. I have felt their love and support all my life. As a gay man, it deeply touches my heart to hear their words embracing marriage equality on this video.
My grandparents are now in their 90’s. They have been blessed with a strong and beautiful marriage for nearly 70 years. Their marriage has been a role model for all of us in our family. I want to have a marriage like theirs. I want society to recognize it. I want my family and friends to celebrate with us and support us.
I know I will be embraced by their love on the day I get married. I hope their words on this video inspire others to speak out for marriage equality.


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  1. Jacob is a perfect spokesman for love and acceptance. I admire his confidence, his charisma and his outlook on life. The influence of his beautiful grandparents shines in him.

    Posted by: trees | Feb 29, 2012 10:23:00 AM

  2. The importance of messages such as this can never be underestimated. Those who have an irrational and superstitious hatred for non-heterosexuals will most likely never change how they feel, but there are so many others who are either indifferent or unaware, those who naively believe that they don't know any gay people. These are the hearts and minds that need to be reached with stories from storytellers like this wonderful family.

    Posted by: Paul in Charleston | Feb 29, 2012 10:33:31 AM

  3. If at all possible, if I was one of the two boys, I'd have my grandfather marry me as soon as it became legal in WA. God willing his grandfather lives to see it happen. What a loving family.

    Posted by: Dale | Feb 29, 2012 10:36:49 AM

  4. Jacob and Calab are very lucky young men and their grandparents are wonderful human beings.

    Posted by: Peter | Feb 29, 2012 10:38:59 AM

  5. I met that family back when I was living in Minneapolis and singing with the TCGMC. Jacob's mom, Randi, brought cookies for the entire chorus. That is one spectacular family, each and every one of them.

    Would that all of us were so fortunate. Perhaps one day more of us will be.

    Posted by: The Milkman | Feb 29, 2012 10:50:03 AM

  6. The Maryland law will be signed but we can't get married until Jan '13 because a republican in the house of dels amended the bill with that stipulation. His public rationalization was that he wanted to avoid a Prop8 situation. I call BS. I think he was actually making it possible for those opposed to the bill to give them time to mount a referendum campaign. The repubs in NY didn't pull this crap.

    Posted by: Christopher Lines | Feb 29, 2012 11:07:41 AM

  7. thank you for sharing.

    Posted by: Dar | Feb 29, 2012 11:49:40 AM

  8. I've seen this young mans documentary on cable tv. He's so brave and strong. A great role model for me.

    Posted by: Larry | Feb 29, 2012 1:22:28 PM

  9. If you live in Washington, tell everyone you meet NOW not to sign the hateful petitions that the mormon and catholic machines are putting out.
    I lived through the HELL of the Prop 8 TV ads, now I am in Portland, whose TV market covers southern Washington. I do not want more of that stupid mean HELL of the mormon- created hate ads.

    Posted by: Bob | Feb 29, 2012 3:24:12 PM

  10. as a resident of the twin cities, it is not just a pleasure to have the Reitan family be the driving force behind the equality movement here, but we have their brilliant leadership, and innate sense of right versus wrong to credit the groundswell of public and private opinion that is trending more and more to place Minnesota back on the proper side of history where it (we) belong.
    every state should be so gifted.

    Posted by: vwdavy | Feb 29, 2012 4:32:04 PM

  11. Very sweet...but I feel like all these "feel good" ads are worthless. To me, the key to winning this debate comes down to practical aspects like taxes, hospital visits, inheritance of pensions and property if a spouse dies, etc. What works in political ads is scare tactics. And it's time to fight fire with fire. Instead of all these ads with old happy gay couples we need to put forth the terrible stories of gay people being denied compassion and dignity during life's tragedies. Stories like the woman in Miami who despite being married to her partner was denied the opportunity to see her on her death bed...or gay people denied the right to attend the funeral of their deceased partners. People need to realize the real world affects of their anti-gay votes. It's easy for a straight person to say "I believe marriage is between one man and one woman"'s a lot harder to say "I think gay people should be denied the right to visit their dying partner in the hospital" but that's effectively what they are saying with their vote.

    Posted by: txstevo | Jun 4, 2012 7:10:44 PM

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