Patricia Cornwell speaks up for same-sex marriage

Patricia Cornwell gives hope to lesbian writers.

No, not that kind of hope, although she certainly cuts an attractive figure. I’m talking about the kind of hope that finds Cornwell driving a Ferrari Spider, piloting her own Bell 407 helicopter and zooming around on one of her Harleys.

Cornwell gives hope by proving that a lesbian writer can make a more-than-comfortable living from writing. She has done so for quite a while.

About a year ago, Cornwell came out publicly to The Daily Telegraph and in June of this year, gave the requisite Advocate interview, speaking at length about her relationship with Staci Gruber, a professor at Harvard Medical School whom she married in 2005 in their home state of Massachusetts. Although Cornwell had been fairly private about her personal life, her solid relationship with Gruber gave her the confidence to be open about her sexual orientation.

Last week, in an interview with Reuters, Cornwell spoke out again, this time about Proposition 8, which reversed a court decision that allowed same-sex marriage in California.

“Maybe it is a function of getting older,” she said, “but I think it is important to stand up and be counted. When you’re not in a relationship your sexual orientation is more theoretical but it becomes more real when you are with somebody and you are not going to hide that.

“It is no longer theoretical when you have people voting against what you believe is your right, making it illegal, when one of the best things about me is the person I am with.”

While I’m not sure I agree about the “theoretical” part, I do appreciate that Cornwell is speaking up, especially given her fan base. Every time she releases a new book, it shoots to the top of the New York Times Bestseller List. And her appeal spreads to people like Barbara Bush, to whom she dedicated one of her books, and the late Ruth (Mrs. Billy) Graham.

Cornwell hopes that she can help change opinions about gay marriage by being open and encouraging others to do the same. As she told USA Today, “If more people just knew everyday people who happened to live with a same-sex person, they would realize we’re the same as they are.”