Anti-gay congressman’s gay son defends dad’s bigotry

Matt Salmon, an anti-gay Republican congressman from Arizona, recently acknowledged that his son, Matt, is gay.

Rep. Salmon insisted that this wouldn’t change his view on gay marriage, he’s still opposed.

Yesterday, Matt Jr. defended his father against criticism from the gay community.

Matt said his dad is “incredibly tolerant.” He also seemed to try to excuse his father’s opposition to gay marriage:


US Rep. Matt Salmon (R-AZ)

“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.”


First, it’s important to get a few key points out of the way:

1. It can take the best of parents a long time to come to terms with having gay kids. Even if they’re “good” with it, they still might not be on board with gay marriage, not right away. My friend Sean Bugg, the editor of Metro Weekly, mentioned this on Facebook recently, in response to those who were critical of GOP Senator Rob Portman, who recently acknowledged his son was gay and that Portman was now in favor of gay marriage:

Sean Bugg, editor of Metro Weekly.

Sean Bugg, editor of Metro Weekly.

For those who think Sen. Portman is too little, too late, I’d point out this personal bit of information: Portman has known his son is gay for two years, and now supports marriage equality. My father has known I’m gay for about 25 years, yet didn’t come to my wedding because he just doesn’t “believe in that.” I’m cutting Portman a little slack.

Now, having said that, Sean’s dad doesn’t vote in the US Congress on our civil rights. So, we can afford to cut him some slack.

2. Gay kids aren’t always the most clued-in people to the gay civil rights cause either.  Heck, even some gay adults don’t quite understand or appreciate their humanity.  It’s worse when you’re 22 and a young Republican.  Of course he’s not thinking of marriage.  More and more people today aren’t thinking of marriage at the ripe young age of 22.  But as you get older, and your biological clock starts ticking, and you start thinking of kids, and your health care, and your taxes, among other things, and marriage starts becoming more interesting.

It also doesn’t help when dad and son are both brought up Mormon, and mom’s worked as an anti-gay ringleader trying to pass a constitutional amendment in the state banning gay marriage.  That’s not a recipe for a well-adjusted coming out by anyone in that family.

As for Matt Jr’s assessment that dad’s opposition to gay marriage has nothing to do with how he views a person’s relationship, sorry, it has everything to do with what he thinks of your relationships.  Yes, dad views marriage as only a man and a woman.  So he doesn’t see your relationship with a guy as the same thing as his relationship with your mom.

That’s the essence of the gay marriage debate. Your father doesn’t see you or your relationship as equal.

Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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45 Responses to “Anti-gay congressman’s gay son defends dad’s bigotry”

  1. Mike_in_the_Tundra says:

    Why is it wrong? Is it wrong when heterosexuals do it? I may not be straight, but I have heard many straight men and women state that they’re very fond of oral sex (which is considered to be sodomy)? If you were to prohibit them from having oral sex, you’re going to be mighty unpopular.

  2. Sweetie says:

    Acceptance is bigotry, too.

    Please refer to the Riddle Scale.

  3. fire says:

    Sodomy is wrong and using colorful words doesn’t change the meaning, the act is still sodomy.

  4. Aloysius Miller says:

    Whoa who whoa! I thought that dad was anti-gay marriage. How does that become anti-gay?

  5. …and being a “spic” is always wrong too………
    I dont beleive that – but like how that sounds? ……Bigotry always comes back to haunt you……

  6. Tom Chicago says:

    Gee, being tolerated by my dad must be just delightful.

  7. Matt Salmon is a Good Man who stands up for what is right! Homosexuality is Wrong and always will be!

  8. BeccaM says:

    Good point. I probably should have found some rhetorical flourish to say “Tolerance is not the same thing as acceptance.”

  9. Sweetie says:

    Actually it is tolerance.

    Tolerance is bigotry. See the Riddle Scale.

    It’s incredible that people think “incredible tolerance” is something to brag about.

  10. bill moore says:

    well said, BeccaM. and Matt Salmon is still looking for his father’s approval – as long as he keeps stroking Daddy Dearest he’ll get it

  11. karmanot says:

    The good news is that animals love salt licks.

  12. Rich kids are so out of touch with the lives of the majority of gay people.

  13. karmanot says:

    Exactly so. They are impervious to facts unless they fit Republican talking points.

  14. BeccaM says:

    …and then take away as the refined crude is loaded onto ships to be sent to other countries.

    I mean, if that hasn’t been the plan all along, why the hell aren’t they simply building refineries in North Dakota?

  15. MichaelS says:

    Willing to bet good money that he doesn’t even wear underwear. Yet another Mormon hypocrite. I’ve dated a few of my own in my day…

  16. karmanot says:

    Yep, Dad’s on board with his son’s second class citizenship and Mormon social shunning, but loves him.

  17. karmanot says:

    Once a gay Mormon hits SF, they never go back.

  18. karmanot says:

    Yep, my family who own ranches and farms under the proposed Tar Sands pipeline are enthusiastic about the ‘energy’ it will bring.

  19. karmanot says:

    Does his magic underwear look like a speedo?

  20. karmanot says:

    Very young, naive, loves his bigot parents and will eventually come out in an avalanche of grief, unless of the Mary Cheney sort, where gay for the 1% is just an acceptable inconvenience.

  21. karmanot says:

    Or if they accept gay marriage then one could theoretically have a male harem.

  22. karmanot says:

    Some of the nicest people are bigots and fascists.

  23. karmanot says:

    Or be forced to undergo shock therapy like I did.

  24. karmanot says:

    Mormons from Arizona—it doesn’t get any closer to spitting distance from theocracy than that. Gays are not permitted on Kolob you know.

  25. BeccaM says:

    Agreed. And it’s one thing to have anti-gay opinions — and something else entirely to work hard to ensure those positions are imposed on millions of others. Both his parents are culpable.

  26. ArmedForces says:

    Good comment BeccaM. With the wisdom from experience.

  27. I guess “tolerant” can mean, “They’re polite enough to refrain from salting the ground on which I walk, at least until I’m a safe distance away.”

  28. BeccaM says:

    Open comment to Matt Salmon: I’ve got some news for you, kiddo: Your parents love you enough to over look the fact you’re gay — and that’s terrific for you. But they still view your being gay as a moral defect.

    That isn’t tolerance. That’s called carving out a second-class exception. And you’re just 22. Try “being together” with someone for over a decade, and still have your parents introduce him to people as your “friend” and see how you feel about that. Or when you are invited to some family reunion, a funeral, or a wedding and you’re asked not to bring your “friend,” because his presence might upset other relatives who aren’t as “tolerant” as your parents claim to be.

    Yeah… just 22, and probably have no clue how important those 1100+ federal rights afforded to any random hetero couple who can marry for the most trivial of reasons can be — all the time, but especially as one becomes older.

    Oh, so you can “be with” the person you love, and can’t see the Grand Canyon chasm between that and having the protected fundamental right to all the legal incidents and protections of licensed civil marriage.

    Here’s some more news: Your parents are intolerant, and you’re in denial.

  29. nicho says:

    Defending attacks on your own self interests is the Republican way. My family does it all the time.

  30. nicho says:

    Well, they didn’t put him in a mental institution to torture the gay away. In the world of the Mormon cult that is “tolerant.”

  31. BlueIdaho says:

    Yes even the gay mormons are apologists now. If you can bear just one more story about a gay mormon coming out. Yes he is said that he is sad….. (His video is embedded in the story)

  32. Skeptical Cicada says:

    Yes, because the Congressman is one of those selfish parents who puts their bigotry above the needs of their own children.

  33. Skeptical Cicada says:

    I don’t put much stock in a 22-year-old gay Mormon’s claim that his manifestly homophobic parents–note the crusade his mother led to get a state marriage amendment–are “tolerant.”

  34. samizdat says:

    Incredibly naive attitude this young man possesses. Hopefully, the fullness of time and experience will bring him to a new viewpoint. Sadly for him, though, he’ll need to learn some painful lessons.

  35. MichaelS says:

    …another self-hating gay. Yes, he’ll be “together” with the man he loves. But not if the man he loves is in the hospital. And not if the man he loves is not a US citizen. And he won’t be able to put that man on his health plan. Or file taxes jointly. Guess it doesn’t matter if you’re a rich Mormon, though… you can buy your way around all these obstacles. Fuck everybody else.

  36. Bill_Perdue says:

    Stockholm syndrome. If he doesn’t change it’ll wreck his life.

  37. silas1898 says:

    He doesn’t want to be cut off from the family ca$h. SOP for a Republican. It’s never too soon to start thinking about your inheritance. There is no such thing as a poor congresscritter.

  38. Constant Comment says:

    Aside from the “marriage” issue–it’s really about second-class citizenship. Is his Congressman dad really ok with his son not being able to receive benefits that any straight citizen automatically gets when he/she marries?

  39. samiinh says:

    Let’s not forget that these people are Mormons who practiced polygamy for years, and for whom the Prophet’s greatest revelation, as he claimed, was that it was god’s will that man should practice plural marriage. If Joe Smith was the Prophet of God and this was his Greatest Revelation, which the church has never denied, how can you be a good Mormon and not believe in plural marriage, even though you may not practice it? So when a Mormon claims that he believes that marriage is between one man and one woman he is either lying to you, or he is lying to his church/cult.

  40. Drew2u says:

    22 and a “Young Republican”? yeah, give him a couple of years (hopefully). The YR have their claws in highschoolers around here, so these kids are indoctrinated at a very young age.

  41. caphillprof says:

    Well put.

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