For every Rob Portman there’s a dozen Republicans that still don’t support marriage equality even though they have gay kids. The latest one to crawl out of the woodwork is Arizona congressman Matt Salmon.
In an interview with Arizona 3TV, the Mormon politician shared that, though his youngest son, Matt Jr., is openly gay, he’s not interested in giving him equal rights.
“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, Sr. “I’m just not there in believing in my heart,” said Salmon “My son is one of the most important people in my life. I love him more than I can say.”
Daddy has an odd way of showing it: Rep. Salmon voted for DOMA in 1996, tried to ban gays and lesbians in D.C. from adopting children, and has pushed numerous other anti-LGBT measures. Even Matt Jr.’s mom, Nancy, helped raise some $50,000 for Proposition 107, which sought to ban same-sex marriage, civil unions, and domestic partnerships in the Grand Canyon State.
In 2010, the Phoenix New Times reported:
The Salmons have been so vocally anti-gay over the years that some local politicians, frankly, rejoiced when one of their four kids came out.
“There were a lot of us 10 years ago that prayed one of Matt Salmon’s kids would turn out gay,” says Steve May. “Not because we wanted to cause any problems or pain for anybody, but because we believe that gay children will change the hearts and minds of their parents.”
Wanna bet Rep. Salmon will “evolve” on LGBT equality five minutes after the majority of his constituents do and it becomes politically expedient?
But the Salmon family situation is truly fascinating: Not only is Matt Rae Flake out but he’s the president of the Arizona Log Cabin Republicans—and his partner is Kent Flake, second cousin of right-wing Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake.
The Flakes and Salmons (gotta love those names) have chilled toward their gay progeny: According to the New Times article, Matt Jr’s siblings un-friended him on Facebook when he started posting about his life with Kent.
And Kent’s family has no interest in meeting the love of their son’s life: “I’ve asked them many times to meet him, and they don’t want to see him,” Flake says. “My dad’s last comment to me was that he didn’t want him around our family, his kids, or his grandkids.
“Republican family values hard at work, folks!
UPDATE: According to an email from Matt R. Salmon, he and Flake are no longer together.
Photos: Jamie Peachey