Arizona GOP Representative Matt Salmon reaffirmed his opposition to gay marriage in an interview over the weekend, despite having a gay son.
Salmon stands in stark contrast with Ohio Republican Senator Rob Portman who recently endorsed same-sex marriage two years after his son came out as a gay. Former Republican Vice President Dick Cheney endorsed gay marriage while in office because of his daughter, who is a lesbian.
Salmon told a local television station that he does not support gay marriage. He said that his son was one of the most important people in his life and asserted that he loved him more than he could say, but this did not change his belief that marriage should be between a man and a woman.
“I’m just not there as far as believing in my heart that we should change 2,000 years of social policy in favor of a redefinition of the family,” Salmon said. “I’m not there.”
Though Salmon has maintained a reputation as a staunch conservative throughout his career, some of his rhetoric resembles that of President Barack Obama’s back when he was first running for office.
“It doesn’t mean that I don’t have respect, it doesn’t mean that I don’t sympathize with some of the issues,” Salmon said. “It just means I haven’t evolved to that stage.”
Arizona is one of over thirty states that have amended their constitutions to ban gay marriage. Nevertheless, four LGBT candidates ran in the state, with Krysten Sinema becoming the first openly bisexual member of Congress.
Salmon’s son leads the Arizona Log Cabin Republicans, a Republican group that advocates for gay rights. In a 2010 interview with the Phoenix News Times, Salmon’s son revealed that he was dating and living with Kent Flake, a second cousin to Senator Jeff Flake. Both men shared the struggle of coming out to their conservative families.
Representative Salmon was re-elected to Congress in 2012 after leaving Congress over a decade ago, and he is now one of 17 Mormons that currently serve in Congress. There are no signs that Salmon has a negative relationship with his gay son despite his continued opposition to gay marriage.