Ann Landers and Dear Abby. For decades they served as wise voices offering generally sound counsel to people with troubled marriages, rebellious children or difficult in-laws. Time marched on and their columns were passed on, in Dear Abby's case to a young daughter. Apparently, the daughter has none of her mother's judgment or wisdom. Instead she has become another shrill media voice agitating for the gay agenda and the overthrow of the traditional family culture her mother, and more importantly, her mother's advice column, championed. I think newspapers should reconsider carrying this column. Since most of them support her radical views, they will probably stick with her, no matter how much their readers complain. ********************************* Â» AP Exlusive: 'Dear Abby' announces support of same-sex marriage Â« For years, rumblings have surfaced on the Internet, conjecture about her casual references to "sexual orientation" and "respect." Now, the subject of the speculation is ready to make a statement, insisting the truth was there all along for anyone who cared to read between the lines: Dear Abby supports same-sex marriage. "There should be gay marriage. I believe if two people want to commit to each other, God bless 'em," the syndicated advice columnist said in an interview with The Associated Press. "That is the highest form of commitment, for heaven's sake." What Jeanne Phillips, aka Abigail Van Buren, finds offensive - not to mention of dubious intelligence - are homophobic jokes, phrases like "That's so gay," and parents who reject or try to reform their children when they come out of the closet. Her views are the reason she's being honored this week by Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, a national advocacy group that provides support for gay people and their families. The original Abby, Phillips' 89-year-old mother, Pauline, helped put PFLAG on the map in 1984 when she first referred a distraught parent to the organization. The younger Phillips, who formally took over the column when her mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease five years ago, has continued plugging the group, as well as its affiliate for parents with children who identify as transgender, and a suicide hot line aimed at gay teenagers. "I'm trying to tell kids if they are gay, it's OK to be gay. I've tried to tell families if they have a gay family memebr to accept them and love them as they always have," she said. Alert "Dear Abby" readers may have noticed that the youthful attitude Phillips promised to bring to the column includes a decidedly gay-friendly take on some matters. In a March 2005 column that touched a nerve with some readers, Phillips came down unequivocally on the side of scientists who say sexual orientation is a matter of genetics, not personal choice. She advised a mother who had cautioned her 14-year-old daughter to keep her feelings for other girls secret to "come to terms with your own feelings about homosexuality." Last year, addressing a groom whose gay brother refused to serve as best man or even attend the wedding because he couldn't marry, she made it clear her sympathies lay with the boycotting brother. "Accepting the status quo is not always the best thing to do," she wrote. "Women were once considered chattel, and slavery was regarded as sanctioned in the Bible. However, western society grew to recognize that neither was just. Canada, Belgium, the Netherlands and Spain have recognized gay marriage, and one day, perhaps, our country will, too." Phillips, who lives in Los Angeles, said she understands not everyone agrees with her. She and her husband "argue about this continually." He thinks civil unions and domestic partnerships "would be less threatening to people who feel marriage is just a religious rite." She thinks anything less than full marriage amounts to second-class citizenship. "If gay Americans are not allowed to get married and have all the benefits that American citizens are entitled to by the Bill of Rights, they should get one hell of a tax break. That is my opinion," said Phillips, who speaks with the no-nonsense tone of someone who is used to settling debates. Right now, Phillips, who prefers to be called Abby, is writing a reply to a woman who wanted to know whether she should include childhood photographs of her transgender brother-in-law in a family album. The woman is worried what she will tell her children when they see pictures of their uncle as a little girl. Phillips' advice to Worried Reader will be to include the photos, she says, and answer any questions the kids have honestly. As far as she knows, Phillips' outspokenness on gay rights issues has never caused a strong backlash, said Kathie Kerr, a spokeswoman for Universal Press Syndicate, which distributes the column to about 1,400 newspapers. It's possible some editors choose not to run the segments dealing with homosexuality, but if so they have not complained to the syndicate, Kerr said. "We get brouhahas all the time, and they haven't been about Dear Abby," Kerr said. Phillips said that while it might be tempting to devote an entire column to why she thinks jokes invoking the anti-gay "f-word" are in poor taste, she does not plan to spell out her views on gay marriage any more directly than she has already. "If they are my readers, they know how I feel on the subject," she said. "I don't think I'm a flaming radical. I'm for civility in life. I'm for treating each other with respect, trying to do the best you can."