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Clay Aiken to speak at hometown gay rights event

Clay Aiken to speak at hometown gay rights event

More than a year after disclosing he is gay, Clay Aiken is speaking before a gay-rights event in his hometown of Raleigh, NC, reports the Raleigh News & Observer.

This weekend, he will speak as part of the Human Rights Campaign Carolinas gala at the Raleigh Convention Center.

HRC provided a speechwriter to help Aiken, 31, with his remarks, but he decided to write his own. The original speech was too political, Aiken said, and included a slam aimed at George W. Bush.

“I don’t feel like this is the place to be horribly politically charged and bash people and talk about the wrongs that have been done,” he said. “My goal is to be hopeful, that it’s time for everyone to have equal rights.”

For Aiken, that means inheritance rights and hospital-visitation rights and all the other rights that heterosexual couples take for granted, including the right to be married.

Aiken made headlines in 2008 when he appeared on the cover of People magazine with the headline, “Yes, I’m gay.”

Meredith Baxter, the “Family Ties” actress who recently came out on the “Today” show, also will deliver a speech.

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