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Clay Aiken takes North Carolina stage for gay rights

RALEIGH, N.C. — More than a year after disclosing he is gay, Clay Aiken is speaking before a gay-rights event in his hometown.

Aiken will deliver a speech about gay rights this weekend at the Human Rights Campaign Carolinas gala in Raleigh, The News & Observer of Raleigh reported Wednesday. Actress Meredith Baxter, who recently said she is a lesbian, also will deliver a speech.

The 31-year-old Raleigh native, pop singer and 2003 "American Idol" runner-up said he wrote his own speech after remarks provided for him proved too political.