By Elizabeth Darst
March 14, 2002 12:00 PM

For years, there has been speculation that jovial talk-show host and actress Rosie O’Donnell was a lesbian. Tonight on “Primetime Live,” O’Donnell acknowledges her sexuality publicly, and discusses her life as a gay parent, reports Reuters. She tells Diane Sawyer that she was compelled to speak out about her own experience in response to the story of a gay couple seeking to overturn a ban on same-sex adoptions in Florida, reports Reuters. Steve Lofton and Roger Croteau are suing the state in an effort to make it legal for gays to adopt children. O’Donnell, 39, who has been in a committed relationship for four years with former Nickelodeon marketing executive Kelli Carpenter, 34, is the adoptive mother of three (Parker, 6, Chelsea, 4, and Blake, 2) and is leaving her six-year-old talk show in May to spend more time with her kids. Reacting to President Bush’s statement that children should only be adopted into the homes of married straight couples, she told Sawyer, according to Reuters: “President Bush is wrong about that. If he’d like, he and his wife are invited to come spend a weekend at my house with my children. I’m sure his mind would change.” She added that the stereotype of the homosexual lifestyle as ” a lot of party, pretty boys and South Beach dancing” was far from reality. “I don’t think America knows what a gay parent looks like,” O’Donnell emphasized. “I am the gay parent.”