Can we no longer live in a world where an opinion on an issue does not define the character of a person? Can a person oppose gay marriage without being labeled homophobic? Or support gay marriage without being labeled a heathen? Arizona Congressman Matt Salmon and his son with the same name thinks it’s possible. Following Senator Portman’s support of gay marriage on account of his son, Congressman Salmon, Republican, was asked by several media outlets if he changed his position against gay marriage given that his son is also gay. The Congressman told local station KTVK-TV that “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.”
While it should be fair to criticize legislators for policies based on the heart rather than the constitution, Salmon’s son claims it’s inaccurate to label his father a bigot. He explains that he is close with his father and both respect the other’s opinion as it relates to gay marriage. Neither he nor his father tries to force an opinion on the other, and their differences do not change the love and respect they have for each other.
As the United States Supreme Court considers the constitutionality of defining marriage between a man and a woman, there is a perception that proponents of gay marriage are anti-Christian while opponents of gay marriage are anti-gay. Though this may apply to some, it should not be assumed on all. As the Salmons illustrate, disagreeing does not equate to hatred or even a lack of acceptance. We should learn to respect our differences, instead of growing to hate them.