By Anthony Murisco

Tuesday, September 23, 2008, is a day when many dreams were shattered. In a cover story for People magazine, American Idol Season 2 runner-up Clay Aiken announced that he was a homosexual.

After years of insults by Kathy Griffin, rumors, tabloid exposes (including an online sex scandal with a former US Marine) Clay finally felt that now, with the birth of his baby son with his best friend, music producer Jaymes Foster, it was time to break the silence.

Born in North Carolina and raised Southern Baptist, Clay always shied away from  speculation on his sexuality. As per the Baptist beliefs, homosexuals are condemned; in the People issue Clay goes on to say in his hometown when you realized you were gay “you either hid it or couldn’t hide it..”

And I came out of the closet...

And I came out of the closet...

Since 2003, the year of his Idol debut, with his strong and powerful voice and uplifting tunes, he became a spokesman for Christianity. He even appeared in Christian Music Planet as the “American Idol Christian”. Fans, usually women, gravitated to his “aw-shucks”, old-fashioned boy personality, and adopted the nickname “Claymates”. These fans were always the first to defend Aiken when he came under attack.

Having never spoken publicly about this, the message boards over at Claymaniacs.com were divided. To some, Clay is still the same old Clay; user GWENN, a woman with an avatar of her and her ideal man had this to say, “Gay – So what? The man is drop dead gorgeous.”

Others debate how he could claim to be a Christian and a homosexual. User Diane on AikenForums.com puts it, “sorry, the Bible says homosexuality is wrong, and as a Christian I believe that. We can’t just follow the parts of the Bible that we want or that are convenient to us, or we are not Christians. And he says he’s a Christian. Too bad, I was supporting him since 2003.”

Some have gone as far as decoding his previous antics, such as user HavinaClayAffair who began to question men who have been in and out of Clay’s life throughout his career, “Where did his best bud and high school friend take off to. We heard an explanation of some sort. I remember reading it… he just sort of worked for Clay- then disappeared…”

What effect will this have on the mold created by Clay? As one fan, user WilsonClaymate on the Claymaniacs forum puts it, “I love Clay Aiken unconditionally and I’m here for the long hall.”