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Meredith Baxter: Coming Out Is Both Personal And Political

Actress Meredith Baxter (who played hippie mom Elyse Keaton on TV's Family Ties) went on NBC-TV's The Today Show this morning to say "I am a lesbian."

Married three times to men over the years, the now 62-year-old Baxter said she realized she was a lesbian seven years ago and has been in a relationship for the past four years.

Why is sharing this news now? Partly, she tells Matt Lauer, for personal reasons — to head off tabloid reports and share the news "in my own words."

And toward the end of the conversation, she tells Lauer that there are political forces at work as well. People who know homosexuals tend to be more accepting of them, Baxter said.

"I'm the same woman" as before this coming out, she continued. "I'm the same mother to all those children."

Now, for at least some Americans who have been uncomfortable with homosexuals, "I can be the lesbian you know":

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