VIDEO: A Republican Congressman's Gay Son Records an Entry for "It Gets Better"

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
April 2 2013 2:52 PM

VIDEO: A Republican Congressman's Gay Son Records an Entry for "It Gets Better"

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Rep. Matt Salmon (R-AZ) and former President George W. Bush in 2002.

Photo by STEPHEN JAFFE/AFP/Getty Images

Yesterday I tried my #slatepitch best to explain that Arizona Rep. Matt Salmon, a Republican with an out gay son, was clearly on his way to endorsing marriage equality. Sure, he said he "wasn't there yet." But the "yet" was awfully pregnant with meaning.

I wasn't aware then that the son, the junior Matt Salmon, had spoken out many times about his sexual identity. He's been a spokesman for the state's Log Cabin Republicans. In 2011, he recorded an "It Gets Better" video, cloaking some of the details about his situation, but leaving lots of clues.

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"My dad is a Republican politician," said the younger Matt Salmon. "He was in Congress, and he's running for Congress again. I can tell you, since I came out, there's been a change in my family." He continues: "my parents still don't see equal LGBT rights as an issue, but my dad in his campaign now, he's come out publicly and talked with pride about me. He told a reporter, also, on the news, that he was proud of me for standing up for what I believe in, for standing up for gay rights."

In another time, the younger Salmon's activism would have sunk his father's campaign. It didn't. Salmon edged past a Republican primary opponent, 52-48, to win the nomination for the safe seat in suburban Phoenix, even though that other Republican had been endorsed by John McCain.

Hat tip for the video: Glenn Greenwald.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter.