Not His Brother's Keeper

4.14.2008

By Bill Keith

While reporting Out's cover story on Greg Berlanti, we asked Dirty Sexy Money star William Baldwin about his brother Stephen's controversial campaign work and anti-gay stances. With no further prompting, William spoke at length about learning politics from their father, Stephen stumping for Brownback, and how he'd happily have nine of 10 Baldwin offspring grow up gay before watching one inherit Stephen's beliefs.

Below are excerpts from the interview.

+ My brother Stephen does not have a political bone in his body. He does not have any political experience or political education whatsoever. My father was a high school history and government teacher -- he was very sort of Kennedy-esque sitting around the dinner table. Stephen must have been smoking dope back then, because my brother Alec took it very seriously -- he went to university and studied political science and so did I. I interned on Capitol Hill, I worked on congressional staffs. But my brother Stephen becomes a Christian and the next thing you know he's stumping for Sam Brownback. And when Brownback got knocked out then he's stumping for Huckabee.

+ When I talked to him about Sam Brownback, I said, 'Do you know his position on civil rights? Do you know it on human rights? Do you know it on gay rights? Do you know his position on global warming? Protecting and defending the environment? Do you know his position on public education?' He was in Iowa campaigning for Sam Brownback and he could not answer; he hadn't read one position paper. He hides behind the Word and whenever you confront him he'll hide behind some verse. He'll say, 'All that really matters to me is that the Lord said blah blah blah blah' and he'll fill in the blank.

+ The other thing is, he's an actor who's been in many, many very good films. He was in Crossing the Bridge, 8 Seconds, Last Exit to Brooklyn, Usual Suspects, and all of us [actors] love when people love what we do and tell us 'I loved that film.' You know, like, 'I loved Squid and the Whale and I thought you were fucking great in it.' I don't do this so you can come up to me and say, 'I saw Fair Game and it sucked and what the fuck were you thinking?' That's not why we do it. But I think my brother Stephen can no longer garner the type of attention that he once garnered as a performer. And I think that the only way he can get the sort of attention and to get that stroke to his ego is through, not his work as a Christian, but through his work as a political operative within the Christian political movement.

+ I think Stephen enjoys the juxtaposition of my brother Alec and me on one side and he on the other side and again the attention that might garner in the media that Baldwins are at war at the dinner table. I'm not saying he doesn't believe what he says. I just don't think that he fully understands. So I asked him, 'Do you think a gay couple should be married? And if not, do you think they deserve access to the same rights on a federal level and state level that you do? And if you don't -- are they some lesser form? Why don't they deserve the same rights and privileges that you do?' [And he responds,] 'Because God said and the Bible says that marriage is an institution that exists solely between a man and a woman blah blah blah,' and he falls behind that crap. And I said, 'Well if you had a choice -- if you and your wife were to die and your kids were still young and you had a choice between your children being in foster care and potentially being physically and emotionally and sexually abused as opposed to being adopted by a loving, healthy, caring lesbian or gay couple, what would you rather have?' He couldn't really answer, and I said, 'Thank God Dad isn't here on this earth right now, because he would be so devastated and so horrified.' I have three kids, and I said, 'If I go on and have 10 kids and nine out of the 10 wind up being gay that's absolutely, 1,000% undoubtedly -- I'm cool with that. But if one of the 10 grow up to think the way you think, I will be absolutely fucking devastated and our father would be turning in his grave to know that one of my children grew up thinking that way.' And I don't mean to say that I'm saying this is a lesser of two evils -- I don't want to be misconstrued. I don't love my brother any less, but I think he's very confused.

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