Randi and Phil Reitan have been married 40 years. They lived in a rural Minnesota town until their youngest son, Jake, came out as gay, then moved to a Minneapolis suburb where they felt people would be more understanding. The three of them appeared in the 2007 documentary “For the Bible Tells Me So,” which examines Christian fundamentalists’ opposition of homosexuality. A condensed and edited version of our conversation follows:
How did you meet?
Randi: I grew up in a really small town in Minnesota. My dad was the town doctor and always on call, so we didn’t leave a lot. I really wanted to get away and my parents told me I could go to summer school, but it had to be Lutheran. I picked California Lutheran College in Thousand Oaks, Calif. It was very exciting being away all by myself for the first time. There were these old campus apartments where I was living; I found some old newspapers and there was often a column by a young man who had been student body president and I loved his writing. It was his sense of justice, something very different than I had ever seen in someone my age. He was writing about women’s rights; at the time there were still dorm hours for the women and he was working for somebody else’s rights. And he was involved in political campaigns and antiwar measures.