Rep. Matt Salmon (R-AZ), a prominent social conservative, explained in late March that he opposes same-sex marriage even though his own son, Matt R. Salmon, is gay. On Sunday, the younger Salmon spoke with Phoenix TV station KPNX about how he hopes one day to marry but does not let it hurt his good relationship with his father. He also talked about why MSNBC and CNN had turned down interviews with him in recent days.
“It’s hard for me to understand that people will jump to the conclusion that he’s anti-gay, he’s a bigot,” the younger Salmon said. “When really, yeah he doesn’t support gay marriage, but that doesn’t make him a bigot at all.”
Salmon said that his relationship with his father is the best it has ever been because they both agreed they wouldn’t allow his sexual orientation to get in the way of their relationship. The worst point in their relationship was when he was in college and had decided to quit so-called “gay reparative therapy.” “We still had a loving relationship but it was difficult for him to accept,” he said.
It would be nice if his father supported same-sex marriage the same way Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) cited his gay son in explaining why he changed his mind on the issue, Salmon acknowledged. “I think anybody would be a little crazy if they weren’t thinking, ‘Oh, I wish that I had that kind of support,'” he said.
“I know it took me 20 years before I was OK with myself and I can’t expect anybody else to do it overnight, or change their minds in any sooner amount of time,” Salmon said.
He also said he hopes his parents attend his wedding one day, adding, “I’m not going to lay that burden on them but I hope that they do.”
Salmon said that appearances on MSNBC’s “Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell” and CNN’s “Piers Morgan Tonight” were canceled after it became clear that he was not going to be critical of his father. A spokesperson for CNN declined to comment. A spokesperson for MSNBC replied: “A producer had initial conversations with Matt, like we do with many potential guests every day, but he was never formally booked for the show.”
Watch the interview:
*This post has been updated.