Matt Salmon Jr. defended his father, Republican Congressman Matt Salmon of Arizona’s, firm stance against marriage equality.
In an interview with a local television station that aired March 29, Congressman Salmon insisted that while his son is one of the most important people in his life, the congressman believes that marriage is between a man and a woman.
“It doesn’t mean I don’t have respect, it doesn’t mean I don’t sympathize with some of the issues, it means I haven’t evolved to that station, Rob Portman apparently has,” said Salmon, referring to the Ohio senator who recently came out in favor of marriage equality while announcing his own son is gay.
The interview resulted in a firestorm on social media, drawing much criticism from marriage equality supporters and the LGBT community, and prompting a response from Salmon Jr., who called the critics, “incredibly intolerant.”
“It’s nothing I didn’t already know,” he told the Washington Blade. “People seem to be trying so hard to analyze where it’s coming from, but really he was quite straight-forward. My father loves me very much and he supports me and he respects me. He’s very much there for me as one of my closest friends. I think that was obvious in everything that he had to say.”
22-year-old Salmon Jr. additionally spoke out about his father’s specific stance on marriage.
“He doesn’t see it as not allowing his son to be with the person he loves because he knows that regardless of where marriage is, I’m going to be with the person that I love,” he said. “Whether I can legally marry in Arizona or not, it’s not going to change that fact and 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. It has nothing to do with the way he views a person’s relationship, and that’s the thing that I think is hard for people to understand.”
LGBT supporters have pointed out that Salmon’s comments have everything to do with how his father views other people’s relationships.
Editor of AMERICAblog, John Aravosis, wrote, “That’s the essence of the gay marriage debate. Your father doesn’t see you or your relationship as equal.”