MW: Do you think that’s important across the board? I don’t want to get into any specifics about other people, but do you think that that’s an issue that other personalities should be considering?
ROBERTS: Oh, where are you going?
MW: I’m not asking to go person by person. But do you think that it’s a responsibility of a person on air or do you think that’s just a decision that you’ve made?
ROBERTS: It’s easy for me to stand on the other side of having decided to be publicly out six years later and act self-righteous about it, but I’m confident that this is the place where I need to be. I don’t want to cast aspersions or judgment on anybody else. I’m just glad that I’m where I am. And that, while other people may choose to stay more off the radar on this, that’s their choice.
Would I personally want to be out there being at the forefront of these issues and not having people know who I really was? No. I like the fact that people know who I am. And if they don’t, they can Google me real fast and figure it out.
I’m not perfect – by far not perfect – but I’m somebody who’s waking up every day, I’m finding my own happiness professionally and personally, and I think that the kids in this country who are struggling need to know that. They need to have people that they can look at and be like, ”You know what, this is achievable, there is hope.”
MW: So, what’s next for you?
ROBERTS: I’m completely happy with where I am right now and the opportunity that I get to be a part of this family and this network and I get to be exactly who I am and I don’t have to make any apologies for it or hide. I feel such gratitude and am so privileged to be here. So, whatever comes from me next, as long as I’m here working with these fantastic people, a part of this fantastic brand, I will be a happy man.
MW: Speaking of being a happy man, I know that you announced your engagement to your longtime partner, Patrick Abner, after New York passed marriage equality.
MW: Are there specific wedding plans and, if so, in what state?
ROBERTS: Well, with Maryland thrown into the mix…. [Laughs.] We were considering doing it here in New York coming up in the fall. We’ll celebrate 12 years together in September, and I don’t like to change my anniversary date because I don’t want to have to remember anything new, so I’d like to do it on our anniversary on Sept. 30.
So when it comes to the wedding plans, we were hoping for something in the fall. Then we ended up buying a condo and we moved into our condo that weekend [in 2011, following marriage-equality legislation passing in New York that summer], and so Patrick is like, ”You are nuts if you think we’re going to move the same week and get married the same week and do all that stuff. We’ll be divorced!”
So we put off doing it. He was absolutely right. He’s always right. I’m very grandiose. My sister likes to call him the ”string to my balloon” because he keeps me grounded. I get these big ideas, so he helps to keep me grounded and realistic: ”That’s crazy, we’re not doing that.” So, this fall we’ll be a year in our place. I think marriage equality in Maryland will not be happening this year, even when it’s signed into law [and if the referendum does not succeed in preventing the law from taking effect]. It’s 2013, right?
ROBERTS: So, that will give us more time for this engagement thing to see if it works out. [Laughs.] But, I think almost 12 years together kind of makes it a done deal that we’re compatible and we should do this thing.
Thomas Roberts hosts MSNBC Live weekdays, 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. Eastern time.