When Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) came out for marriage equality last month, he largely attributed his change of position to his gay son and his desire to support him. Apparently, Rep. Matt Salmon (R-AZ), who is Mormon, was not so moved when his own son came out to him, as he explained to 3TV News:
SALMON: I don’t support the gay marriage… My son is by far one of the most important people in my life. I love him more than I can say… 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. I’m not there. [...]
I don’t believe that this is a lifestyle that he chose. In fact, I remember him telling me at one point in time — he said, “Dad, do you truly believe that if I could have chosen a lifestyle I would have chosen this with all the things that come along with it?”
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 that I haven’t evolved to that station. Rob Portman apparently has.
Portman clearly coordinated his announcement with his son, Will, in mind. The family released photos of Rob and Will spending time together, Will tweeted his support for his father that day, and last week wrote about how they made the decision together. Salmon has done the opposite, speaking without the consent of his son in an attempt to soften his own anti-gay positions, including past support for banning same-sex marriage and adoption.
Salmon’s son, Matt, talked to the Phoenix New Times back in 2010 about his sexuality and explained that his father is not nearly as loving or respectful as he may claim. Matt’s been with his boyfriend Kent Flake for over 10 years, but his family doesn’t allow Flake to be around, and Matt’s siblings defriended him on Facebook for promoting gay rights. He endured years of ex-gay therapy, but has since left the Mormon Church.