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Gay Son of Rep. Matt Salmon Talks to Anderson Cooper About Loving Parents Who Don't Believe in His Equality: VIDEO


Matt R. Salmon, the gay son of Rep. Matt Salmon (R-AZ), sat down with Anderson Cooper last night to talk about his father, who has spoken publicly of his opposition to same-sex marriage, and his mother, who worked on an anti-gay constitutional amendment in Arizona, about his love for them.

AcSaid Salmon:

"I finally realized that no matter what our differences and opinions are, we have to love and support each other. And since then, our relationship has really grown stronger. And I've watched as my dad has just really been a huge supporter of me....Yes, he doesn't support gay marriage, but that's no reason that I shouldn't love him, or just accept him for who he is. I hope that he changes his position" on marriage rights for same-sex couples."


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  1. This poor kids. This must be some variant of Stockholm Syndrome.

    Posted by: JerzeeMike | Apr 13, 2013 9:48:48 AM

  2. This is sad, the family is stuck in a form of stasis with everyone walking around each other in eggshells rather than dealing with the issue of their son's human rights. Rep. Salmon needs to start listening to his son and realise he is not going to change and he needs to embrace all that his son is. This half-life helps no one.

    Posted by: Chippy James | Apr 13, 2013 9:53:42 AM

  3. Poor kid shouldn’t have to shoulder the stupidity of his parents. So much for their unconditional love...

    Posted by: ichabod | Apr 13, 2013 9:55:08 AM

  4. Perfect example of the old saying, "love is blind."

    Posted by: Fred | Apr 13, 2013 10:02:37 AM

  5. It must not be easy, but it is good they talk and care. Perhaps one day his parents will change their minds.

    Posted by: Matt26 | Apr 13, 2013 10:03:37 AM

  6. "I can't expect my parents to accept me in my views unless I accept them in their views."

    This is pitiful to the point of being infuriating. Did he learn nothing at ASU? Are all views equivalently worthy of respect? I don't know whether to blame him or his college for this quality of thinking.

    Maybe I'm being too harsh and it's Battered Person Syndrome. He's rationalizing his learned helplessness and staying with and helping his abusers (hey, no problem, I'll edit your anti-gay screed for you...may I load the gun you're going to shoot me with? may I uncoil the whip you're going to lash me with?). It sure makes the Mormon church look ugly. Unfortunately, the gay Mormons I've met too often show this sort of self-abusive thinking. Very, very sad.

    Posted by: SC David | Apr 13, 2013 10:05:11 AM

  7. This kid has been deeply wounded. I would not be surprised to read someday of his nervous breakdown or suicide. I hope that will not happen. But he needs to get help from some competent therapist, not to change his orientation but to help heal from the emotional abuse he has suffered at the hands of his church and family.

    Posted by: Jay | Apr 13, 2013 10:05:19 AM

  8. Mormons............

    Posted by: dards | Apr 13, 2013 10:06:48 AM

  9. Yes they love their son, but that love is conditional and that's not real love.

    Posted by: Zac | Apr 13, 2013 10:08:25 AM

  10. This poor guy is an emotional hostage. He evens says that he wants to marry one day and his parents are ACTIVLY working against it.
    And the whole therapy thing... he just glosses over it... denial, denial, denial.

    Posted by: coexxi | Apr 13, 2013 10:08:26 AM

  11. That's precisely why they call it "Stockholm Syndrome," JerzeeMike. It's a psychological condition in which hostages express empathy and positive feelings toward their captors, sometimes to the point of defending them. But that's only because they were being mind-controlled to do so. Inflicting "rejection" or "correction" upon one's family members for the benign characteristic of being gay (legal in the U.S., see Lawrence v. Texas, 2003) is known as abuse; and victims need to reach out and get help for it as soon as possible, if they see it happening in their own lives. Take it from a rejected son: get free and stay away from homophobes. If you need help, find safe space and contact PFLAG or The Trevor Project, those organizations are there to assist in time of need.

    Posted by: Christophe | Apr 13, 2013 10:13:23 AM

  12. You can love your bigoted father all you want, we are still going to fight back against those who work to deny us equal legal status under the law for our families, our lives, and our freedom. Your father is our enemy, and we will be fighting him and everyone like him.

    Posted by: Michael Heynz | Apr 13, 2013 10:18:43 AM

  13. He doesn't love (unconditionally) you enough to support your constitutional right to marry the man you choose the live the rest of your life with and make sure that you are 100% legally protected in the eyes of the law. He believes that you are inferior, treats you as inferior, and thinks the government that you pay taxes to should treat you as inferior and you let him, that is disgusting and pathetic. He doesn't deserve your respect, he deserves to be excluded.

    Posted by: RMc | Apr 13, 2013 10:34:05 AM

  14. I promise you that his parent's rejection is going to haunt this guy until he can stand it no more. Looking at the photos presented of his family gatherings you can see that he is the outsider, that even he doesn't feel comfortable. He's young, very naive and has been brought up to believe he is less than his siblings, that he is less of a person under the eyes of (his Mormon) God. Altho he tries his best to put a good face on it out of love for his family obviously, inside it has to be eating at him. I predict a sad ending to his happiness claims today.

    Posted by: Mike Ryan | Apr 13, 2013 10:34:12 AM

  15. His Mormon brainwashing surely plays a role on this. "Family" (no matter how shallow it really is for them) is really big in that cult. And he has been conditioned to obey without question.

    Posted by: Steve | Apr 13, 2013 10:39:44 AM

  16. Why do they keep interviewing him? He is particularly uninteresting on the third go-around, and he's never had ANYTHING interesting to say. In fact, beyond his It Gets Better video, I can't think of a single thing he's said that was worth hearing. He's a little bit maudlin, a little bit whiny, and severely deluded. It's almost like the media is trying to smear Mormonism (not that they need to) but continuing to give away free tickets to this freak show. I refuse to listen anymore.

    Posted by: Jack. | Apr 13, 2013 10:46:54 AM

  17. Sad I remember a lot of this 40 years ago!
    We would get these people coming into the Gay Activist Alliance.
    Honoring religious prejudice in an elected official is disgusting. Loving your parents in spite of their rejection is masochism!

    Posted by: Joe o | Apr 13, 2013 10:48:07 AM

  18. Sad.
    Personally if I was not supported in these circumstances I would be busy packing my bags.
    Being gay with the right to absolute equality are not negotiable instruments. I cannot allow my pride and self respect to be diminished to the point of someone thinking me a lower status person because I want to marry a man.
    This kid and his inner pride have already been irreparably damaged either for the political ambitions of his father or for the phantasmagorical concoctions of Joseph Smith and his amazing technicolour Gold Plates.

    Posted by: JackFknTwist | Apr 13, 2013 10:53:19 AM

  19. that boy's gonna have a lot to iron out when he gets free of daddy's dollars.

    Posted by: DannyEastVillage | Apr 13, 2013 11:03:28 AM

  20. Here we have the abused (conversion therapy) gay son of a man (and his wife) that actively work to make legislation against the LGBT community. This isn't just a private family matter ... Salmon is a US Senator for f**k sakes.

    Anderson Cooper took the gloves off gave Matt Salmon a free pass on any hard line questions and a national platform with which to ask for acceptance of his fathers bigotry.

    Posted by: JONES | Apr 13, 2013 11:04:18 AM

  21. His parents were brainwashed as well, by a patriarchal religion obsessed with reproduction and creating more Mormons. Some day the leader of the church will have a "revelation," just like the one that decided that dark-skinned people were human, and suddenly gays and lesbians will be accepted.

    Posted by: homer | Apr 13, 2013 11:05:31 AM

  22. Mormonism + reparative therapy + extremist rightwing conservatives = Matt R. Salmon. Condolences to him for having to "live" under these conditions.

    Posted by: HadenoughBS | Apr 13, 2013 11:05:31 AM

  23. Your parents picked their religious beliefs and their political ideology over their own flesh and blood. That says it all. They chose "things" over their own child's civil equality. They don't deserve to be called parents. I can say the parents are incredibly lucky to have such a self-loathing child to manipulate. Because if they were my parents, I would have disowned them years ago. As far as I'm concerned, they're vile human beings.

    Posted by: David in the O.C. | Apr 13, 2013 11:05:46 AM

  24. @Michael Heynz is correct. Our opinions of the bigoted father are not going to be affected by whatever love there is in this family.

    But that in turn doesn't mean we need to expect that the son not love his father and to have only a confrontational relationship with his family. The relationship between parents and son is hardly ideal, but people here are being unfairly harsh on this young man, particularly by saying he suffers from Stockholm syndrome. The correct analogy with the Stockholm syndrome would be if the son says I love you dad, I know you love me, I know you're a good man, I know you are anti-gay and therefore I know that all your anti-gay political work is good and that I support it fully and believe that anyone else who doesn't support you is wrong.

    I don't think that is the case with this young man. When he says he supports his father, he means it in a personal way. He isn't saying that he agrees with his father's anti-gay marriage. Nor is he saying that no one should be fighting for gay marriage and fighting against his father's politics. (I don't think he would disagree with what Michael Heynz wrote.)

    He is merely stating that in order to have any sort of relationship with his parents, he is going to have to accept that they are not pro-gay just like they are going to have to accept him being gay.

    Sure it would be great if this son were to start to become politically active against his father, as some relations of anti-gay politicos have done (e.g., pro-gay politico Richard Socarides, son of a well-know anti-gay conversion therapy shrink). But for now it better that he is communicating with his conservative parents, to a certain extent on his own terms as an openly gay man who is accepted as that (albeit not with full respect, as others have pointed out), and who, if we can take him at his word (and I think we can), would bring a boyfriend home to meet his folks. This is a lot better than a don't-ask-don't-tell situation that many people have with their families in which their families' homophobia is never confronted.

    All this isn't to say that the son hasn't suffered some emotional abuse from his upbringing. I just don't think he needs to have a hostile relationship with his family, or have no relationship at all, to deal with his abuse, as some here would have it.

    Posted by: MichaelJ | Apr 13, 2013 11:18:33 AM

  25. In 1986 my mormon mother set up a support group for families of gay people in Salt Lake City, based on the radical idea that families should not explode just because one of the kids is gay. She was nearly tossed out of the church for it, even though the mormons purport to be pro-family.

    I don't think it is unreasonable for this kid to love his parents at the moment, even though they reject who he is and his right to self-identify. But it's a transitional state, it can't last forever. Something's gonna give, either the parents' homohatred or the son's attachment to parents whose "love" is conditional. Too bad my mom's dead, I would love for her to go give this kid's parents' heads a shake.

    Posted by: Squirt | Apr 13, 2013 11:20:43 AM

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