Gay Son Defends Congressman’s Opposition to Marriage Equality
The gay son of a Republican Arizona congressman who does not support gay marriage made headlines on Thursday after he defended his father’s views in an interview with the Washington Blade.
Rep. Matt J. Salmon (R-Ariz.) told a Phoenix station AZFamily last weekend that he believes marriage should be defined as a union between a man and a woman while acknowledging his gay son.
"I love him more than I can say," the lawmaker said. "It doesn’t mean that I don’t have respect, it doesn’t mean that I don’t sympathize with some of the issues. It just means I haven’t evolved to that stage."
Matt R. Salmon, his son, leaped to his father’s defense after seeing "a lot of hateful comments" on his dad’s Facebook page.
"Whether I can legally marry in Arizona or not, it’s not going to change that fact," Matt R. said. "My father knows that and he accepts my desire to be with the man that I love. As far as it goes with marriage, for him it’s a matter of what marriage means to him -- to him marriage is defined as between a man and a woman."
The LGBT community has been "incredibly intolerant," he complained to Blade reporter Mike Lavers. Nor, he noted, do people understand the relationship he has with his father.
"My father loves me very much and he supports me and he respects me," son Matt R. said. "He’s very much there for me as one of my closest friends." Matt. R Salmon is a former president of Arizona’s Log Cabin Republicans chapter, Lavers reported.
Unlike Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, Matt R. said he doesn’t see having a gay son as having effected a change in his father’s position -- so far, at least. The younger Salmon is hopeful that hs father’s views on marriage equality are evolving. What he is sure of, he told the Blade, is that his parents "wouldn’t actively do anything" to endorse any bill that was blatantly anti-gay.
Rep. Salmon himself admitted that his views on marriage equality were indeed evolving in the Blade interview. He also brought up Sen. Portman, who became the first sitting Republican senator to announce his support for same-sex marriage recently. Portman said his views have changed after his son came out to him two years ago. "It just means that I haven’t evolved to that station," Matt J said. "Rob Portman apparently has. I haven’t."
Coincidentally, just a few days ago, a fellow Arizona GOP representative, Jeff Flake, made headlines when he called it "inevitable" that a GOP presidential candidate will support marriage equality.
Meanwhile the flood of Democratic senators rushing over to endorse marriage equality is continuing. The just-completed Supreme Court oral arguments on Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act, along with dramatic upticks in polls, have convinced those on the Right, including Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly, editors at the National Review and even a columnist for Townhall that the United States at long last will be joining Spain, the Netherlands and Canada, among many other nations, in legalizing same-sex marriage. Uruguay is about to join that group, which means that the U.S. now ranks nations behind Mexico, South Africa and Argentina in this important indicator of equality for its citizens.
In recent days, it’s not only senators from the dark blue Northeast or Pacific Rim that have announced their views have changed.
New converts include Claire McCaskill from the important swing state of Missouri; and senators in the heart of Dixie, such as Mark Warner (Virginia); Kay Hagan (North Carolina). Even a senator from deeply religious West Virginia (Jay Rockefeller) and the land of Sarah Palin, Alaska (Mark Begich) have joined the march to equality.
These are all Democrats, and a Democrat congressperson announcing for marriage equality has become the proverbial "dog bites man" news story. The real news ("Man bites dog!") came on Thursday, when Illinois GOP Sen. Mark Kirk joined Portman.
Watch Matt R. Salmon’s "It Gets Better" video below: