US: Arizona Congressman stands by opposition to equal marriage despite son being gay

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A Mormon Arizona Congressman has said that, despite his own son being gay, his stance on equal marriage hadn’t “evolved” for him too support it.

Arizona Representative Matt Salmon appeared on 3TV News, and addressed the question of whether, like other Republican politicians, his stance on equal marriage might have changed.

“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”, he said.

“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?”

He was asked whether, like Senator Rob Portman, who recently came out in support of equal marriage when his son came out as gay, he might change his stance on the issue.

He concluded: “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.”

The question of top Republicans coming out in support of equal marriage has been topical since Senator Rob Portman who was among the original sponsors of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) recently announced that he had changed his anti-equal marriage stance.

The Senator spoke at a Republican Party event last weekend, and said that the audience was “very respectful” of his change in stance.

Already, Portman has drawn criticism from religious groups who previously supported him, as Phil Burress of the Ohio group Citizens for Community Values, spoke out to say that he thought Portman was “a very troubled man”, and suggested that he was “distraught” over his son coming out.

Republican Senator Jeff Flake at the weekend spoke out to say that, despite being opposed to equal marriage himself, he thinks a future GOP candidate for the US presidency will support same-sex marriage.

In an interview, the United States House Speaker John Boehner said that he “can’t imagine” he would “ever” change from his current stance in opposition to equal marriage.