Maya Marcel-Keyes

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Maya Marcel-Keyes
Born Maya Jeane Marcel-Keyes
(1985-05-23) May 23, 1985 (age 33)
New Jersey, United States
Known for Social and political activism

Maya Jeane Marcel-Keyes (born May 23, 1985) is an American social and political activist and daughter of Alan Keyes, a candidate for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination. Despite her staunch conservative upbringing, Marcel-Keyes has been involved with the anarchist and gay rights movements.

Early life[edit]

Maya Marcel-Keyes was raised in Darnestown, Maryland. She attended Oakcrest School in McLean, Virginia, a Catholic girls high school. Marcel-Keyes worked with a tribal rights group in southern India in her gap year before matriculating at Brown University in 2005.[1][2]


2000 U.S. presidential election[edit]

During the 2000 U.S Presidential election season, Marcel-Keyes was instrumental in convincing her father, despite objections from his security detail, to throw himself into a mosh pit organized by activist and filmmaker Michael Moore during an Iowa caucus rally. Fellow Republican candidate Gary Bauer charged that the event was a cheap political stunt. In response, Dr. Keyes said that the mosh pit exemplified "the kind of trust in people that is the heart and soul of the Keyes campaign."[3]

2004 U.S. Senate election in Illinois[edit]

Marcel-Keyes gained public notoriety after her father was nominated by the Illinois Republican Party as its candidate for the U.S. Senate seat vacated by retiring Senator Peter Fitzgerald. The previous nominee, businessman and educator Jack Ryan, removed himself from the race after damaging information from his divorce records were made public. Marcel-Keyes and her father moved to Calumet City and later to Chicago for the race; Marcel-Keyes worked on her father's campaign.[2]

Marcel-Keyes' sexual orientation was not widely known at the time of her father's entry into the Senate election, but questions arose when Keyes answered a reporter's question concerning the homosexuality of Vice President Dick Cheney's daughter at the 2004 Republican National Convention. Keyes stated that all homosexuals were guilty of "selfish hedonism".[4]

After the 2004 campaign, Marcel-Keyes became a consultant for her father's Illinois office. She was terminated from this position in 2005.[2]

Family controversy[edit]

On January 20, 2005, Marcel-Keyes—who identified as an anarchist—participated in a march protesting the second inauguration of President George W. Bush. Following that march, Alan Keyes relieved Marcel-Keyes of her duties as a consultant, requested that she move out of an apartment funded by Keyes' political organizations in Chicago, and stated that he would not fund her college education.[5][6]

Following the breakdown in her relationship with her parents, Marcel-Keyes came out publicly as a lesbian.[5][6] Marcel-Keyes's parents had been aware of her sexual orientation since they found a copy of the Washington Blade (a gay publication) in her room and confronted her with it during the latter portion of her high school years; they considered her sexuality "wrong and sinful", but lived with her amicably as long as she did not communicate her politics or sexuality openly.[5] Marcel-Keyes asserted that her father had disassociated himself from her because she is a "'liberal queer'".[2] Marcel-Keyes acknowledged that she could understand her father's decision because it did not "'make much sense for him to be [financially] supporting someone who is working against what he believes in.'"[7] When asked if she was homeless, she said "'Technically speaking, I don't have anywhere to go. I have lots of friends and I could probably go crash with them. I'm going back to Chicago and I'm not really sure what I'm going to do when I get there.'" Marcel-Keyes also criticized the media's reporting of her family situation.[7] She discussed this series of events in an interview with The Advocate.[8] The death of a close friend who was kicked out of his parents' house motivated Marcel-Keys to speak out publicly about the situation.[9]

In October 2007, Alan Keyes contradicted reports that he had disowned Marcel-Keyes, stating that to do so would be "wrong in the eyes of God." However, he maintained that he would not give his approval to Marcel-Keyes's homosexuality.[10]


  1. ^ Crea, Joe (February 4, 2005). "Ehrlich, Steele mum on Md. marriage amendment: Alan Keyes' daughter to headline pro-gay lobby day". Washington Blade. Archived from the original on December 16, 2005.
  2. ^ a b c d Fisher, Marc (February 13, 2005). "When Sexuality Undercuts a Family's Ties". The Washington Post. p. C01.
  3. ^ Gail Collins. "Public Interests; Dignity, Always Dignity." The New York Times. January 28, 2000. Page 1.
  4. ^ "Interview on homosexuality with Sirius OutQ". Renew America. Archived from the original on 2006-08-22.
  5. ^ a b c When Sexuality Undercuts A Family's Ties, Marc Fisher, Washington Post, 12 February 2005
  6. ^ a b "Alan Keyes' Daughter Coming Out". CBS News. 2005-02-13.
  7. ^ a b William O'Bryan and Randy Shulman (2005-02-24). "Maya Keyes: Her Father's Daughter". Metro Weekly. Retrieved 2007-12-12.
  8. ^ Maya Marcel-Keyes interview, Tom Musbach, The Advocate, February 2005
  9. ^ "Alan Keyes' Gay Daughter Speaks Out". Fox News. Associated Press. February 15, 2005.
  10. ^ "Alan Keyes on the Bill Haft show WBOB 1320 AM". Alan 2007-10-02. Archived from the original on 2008-01-09. Retrieved 2007-12-12.

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