[UPDATE: Visit Carol's blog My heart goes out...]
Carol Boltz is Articulate and Speaks from the Heart
Carol Boltz is a wonderful, loving, honest woman. She lived as the spouse of a very public husband for three decades. Now, she lives as his very public ex-wife. They decided to divorce after he came out as gay.
Here is some of the interview:
Then, I realized in a moment that he wasn’t kidding. None of us knew what to do. We cried and we hugged …
I still thought that you couldn’t be gay and Christian. I thought there would be a solution. I thought we could fix it…
I was in collapse. I had no way of dealing with this. At first, I thought there was a solution. I thought that there could be a fix…What did the future hold? “What do you mean you’re gay?” The thing that sticks with me from that day: It’s not what you do. It’s who you are…
I had all kinds of fears. I was just crying all the time, and no one to really help with that. Ray, we cried together a lot.
I began to realize that there was a difference between how you lived your life, that someone could be Christian or non-Christian, someone could be gay or straight, someone could live with integrity or not live with integrity. But it was not true, what I’d been told in every church I had ever been in, that there was a gay lifestyle, that gay people had uncontrolled, crazy sex lives, that they were identifiable by what they looked like, that they had an agenda, that the activists were out to destroy Christianity. All those things I had heard specifically in church.
The contradictions in my mind were indescribable. And so, as I was learning these things intellectually, I was going through the emotional trauma that if I accepted this, that if I understood this the way other people were expressing it, then, there was no hope, that Ray was telling me the truth, that it’s not what you do, it’s who you are, and that he was gay, and he was not going to change. He was saying, “I can’t pretend…”
I couldn’t live with not believing him… There were a lot of things I had to reconcile … my emotions … how much I loved Ray … what I’d been told in church … what my future would look like … tremendous, tremendous challenges …
I began to meet people, anonymously, first online. I found a wonderful blog written by Peterson Toscano, I began to read Peterson every single day… Once in awhile, I began to post anonymously … I had to get connected with people with information that I had never had before… I was afraid to really let people know who I was. We were still very closeted, still trying to figure out what to do with the business, with the ministry …
I eventually met Peterson in person … I got connected with Soulforce. I found GCN. I read so much on their message boards. All these things were helping me. I realized that there are people out there who are gay and Christian that live lives with their families or individually, with partners or without partners. I began to have glimpses of something outside the churches that I had heard these untruths from. It began to build me up…
Ray always said, it was fine … we could tell whoever we needed to tell. “This is not just my story.” It was our family, and we were close… They tried to find out information for themselves, and we would talk about it … really close.They’re all still close with their dad. There was never a rift. Nobody ever fought, or left angry… All the kids have realized that mom and dad are doing okay. It was hard for them … There were adjustments on the part of all of us…
When I read The Other Side of the Closet … when one spouse (the gay spouse) comes out of the closet, the other spouse (the straight spouse) goes into the closet … several options … good reasons to stay together. However, in our situation, and considering that Ray had done his best to live straight for 30 years before coming out, I knew that he could not continue to pretend to be straight and survive … He didn’t feel, and I didn’t feel, that it would be right to let people assume that he was straight…
In the beginning I didn’t want to separate … counselor asked me if I had known before we were married, would I have wanted to marry a gay man, and my honest answer was no. Is it a breaking of the vows? The answer is yes… Both members of a marriage have an obligation to each other … financial … children … when to separate? There is no good answer.
My hope is that younger people will have the hope of a family of their own, younger gay people will have a hope of a family, so that they can spend their lives together. If I hope that for my gay friends, I hope it for me…
I realized about a month ago that I have made so many friends, friends that I now know are gay, that walk their own faith journey. I realized I would never have met them … neither of us could have been as real and honest and respectful. I would have had in the back of my mind that they were somehow not really Christian. And, instead, I recognize their faith and their walk, and how endeared they are to the Lord, the suffering that some people go through by rejection of their families. I would never have known them, and had them as my friends, if all this had not happened to me. I can see so much more how God can work through these troubles…
I think that the change that happened in me was understanding better … I don’t think we need to overlay our expectations on the Bible. We need to receive from God that Jesus is for all people. And, that he wants us to walk in love and forgiveness and temperance in all things … fruits of the Spirit. .. Jesus came to the woman at the well, and He told her about her life … We need to worship in Spirit and in Truth …I don’t think there’s a difference in people. Don’t stereotype people. In the past, I made assumptions about people and about their lives … I think we need to look at people more transparently.
In a practical way, I think that young people need to know that if they’re gay, they’re alright. There’s nothing freakish about them. There’s nothing unlovable about them. They need to develop normal relationships and have outlets for dating. I heard someone (say)… “What if we had open dating allowed in church, so that people could develop relationships with integrity… do the things that we expect for youth… have gay-straight alliances in church for young people.” I think that’s a fantastic idea. Because the hope of family lives in all of us. Gay people need to know they can live in community at church, and family at home, and be respected and included in the church. That would be my ideal.
Resources Carol Recommends:
- “Can my gay child change?” – article by Peterson Toscano
- “What the Bible says – and doesn’t say – about homosexuality” download available through Soulforce
- Amity Pierce Buxton, “The other side of the closet.”
- Carol Lynn Pearson, “Goodbye, I love you.”
- Jeff Miner, “The children are free – reexamining the Biblical evidence for same-sex relationships”
- Mel White, “Stranger at the Gate.”
- MILK – the movie
- Prayers for Bobby – Lifetime movie starring Sigourney Weaver