Reagan kids disagree on father's same-sex marriage position

Michael Reagan, his wife Colleen, Ron Reagan, Patti Davis, and former first lady Nancy Reagan attend the interment ceremony as former President Ronald Reagan is laid to rest at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library June 11, 2004 in Simi Valley, Calif. Andrew Winning-Pool/Getty Images

This week the second Republican in a month came out in public support of same-sex marriage, as the Supreme Court continues to hear arguments over the issue's constitutionality. And if Ronald Reagan - prevailing idol to the conservative cause - were alive today, the 40th president's daughter Patti Davis told the New York Times, he'd be right there with them.

Not necessarily, Davis's half-brother Michael Reagan argued to the Washington Post: His father was not a "bigot," but believed marriage was between a man and a woman.

"I think my father gets dragged into too many things" about what he would or wouldn't do today, said Michael Reagan, who penned an op-ed this week rallying churches to step out from "behind their pews" and publicly fight against same-sex marriage as its constitutionality is argued before the Supreme Court. Asked whether President Reagan would have supported his thesis, he said, "You'd have to ask him."

But during his administration in the 1980s, "no, he wouldn't have," Michael Reagan added. "It's easy to say he would do or not do something when he's not here to answer."

Davis, the famously rebellious daughter of Reagan and his second wife Nancy, told the Times that though she never spoke with her father about the issue, "all I know is the heart of the man who raised me as my father."

Reagan, Davis said, believed government shouldn't have a hand in people's private lives. She said her parents had a close relationship with a lesbian couple who once babysat her and her younger brother Ron, and that her father once explained to her about Rock Hudson, who died of AIDS in 1985: "Some men are born wanting to love another man."

The Gipper's record on gay rights, the Times pointed out, is a mixed bag. His reaction to the AIDS epidemic during the 1980s was "halting and ineffective," his biographer Lou Cannon wrote, and enraged gay people at the time. As governor of California, though, Reagan joined many Democrats in opposing a ballot measure that would have prohibited gays and lesbians from working in public schools.

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    Lindsey Boerma is senior video producer for CBSNews.com.

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