Something that seems to clash with Lynn's championing of traditional values is her deep respect and concern for the gay community. This trend is embodied in Michael's friend, Laurence. We ALL remember the controversy that surrounded his coming out, as well as the fact that Homebody Elly had to be the one convincing Working Mom Connie not to reject her son. As a matter of fact, the Patterson family were there for him when nobody else was. This scaenario is based on her brother-in-law Ralph's hardships when he came out and the adjustments she and the rest of the Johnston family made. The reason their healthy tolerance of Laurence's lifestyle seems surprising is that the taboo against homosexuality is basically religious in origin; the essentially agnostic Pattersons don't really care who sleeps with whom 'cause they don't think whatever groovy God they believe in cares, either. The reason I think THAT is 'cause they used his sexual orientation as a cheap way to bludgeon Mira over the head. Remember the stink she made at the wedding when she found out our Mr. Poirier was gay? It was Lynn's cheap and nasty way of giving the middle finger to the religious nuts.