Aiken's acknowledgement that he's gay is a monumental moment, advocacy groups say

By David Caplan
Updated September 24, 2008 11:55 AM

Clay Aiken is receiving widespread kudos from lesbian and gay organizations for coming out as a gay man in this week’s PEOPLE.

“We congratulate Clay for making this decision and for setting an example for others and his family,” Neil Giuliano, president of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation said Tuesday morning. “As we’re seeing, more and more gay people, including celebrities, are living openly and honestly, and this has tremendous impact in terms of creating awareness, understanding and acceptance.”

Jennifer Chrisler, the executive director of the Family Equality Council, also chimed in: “Much like Rosie O’Donnell, the announcement that Clay Aiken is gay reinforces a simple reality: the American public can no longer say it does not know a gay or lesbian parent.

“Clay Aiken’s desire to raise a child in an open and honest manner will make his life, and his son’s, all the better. We hope he and his son find all the happiness they deserve, and the Family Equality Council will work toward the day that Clay and Parker Foster Aiken can enjoy the same rights as other American families.”

Aiken, 29, tells PEOPLE he came out four years ago to his mother, but decided to publicly acknowledge that he’s gay because “I cannot raise a child to lie or to hide things.”