On Sunday, “Good Morning America” anchor Robin Roberts acknowledged her “long time girlfriend, Amber” in a Facebook post, apparently coming out as gay (or at least not straight). Roberts, whose struggles with breast cancer and myelodysplastic syndrome were closely tracked by the media, is a fan favorite on “GMA,” and drew widespread publicity after President Obama informed her—and the world—that he had finally fully evolved on gay marriage.
Roberts’ decision to come out has been praised by gay rights supporters, who hope her announcement may draw more Americans to the cause. As Huffington Post Media Editor Jack Mirkinson notes:
Roberts is not just any host or reporter. She is the linchpin of the most popular and profitable morning news show on television. More importantly, she is the emotional core of "GMA," someone whose harrowing and intensely documented medical ordeals have cemented her beloved status with her audience. She is the person who audiences turn to every morning, a symbol of comfort and mainstream values. And she is a gay black woman. It is hard to imagine such a thing even a few years ago.
Still, despite Roberts’ undeniable bravery, her brief message leaves open the question of her actual sexuality. Most commentators have assumed she’s gay, but Roberts merely acknowledged the existence of her girlfriend—an increasingly frequent tack which, as my colleague J. Bryan Lowder noted, can also amount to a dodge. It remains to be seen whether Roberts will speak out further on the matter.
***Update: First Lady Michelle Obama has personally congratulated Roberts on Twitter.