(Photo: Reuters/Aaron Josefczyk)
Regina Griggs, executive director of Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays & Gays (PFOX), has said that personal situations should not get in the way of defending traditional marriage, responding to Ohio Republican Sen. Rob Portman's decision to embrace same-sex marriage because of his gay son.
Griggs, who also has a gay son, invited Sen. Portman to rethink his position and become an honorary member of PFOX.
"As the mother of a homosexual child, I understand how Sen. Portman feels," the PFOX executive director began in her letter.
"It is not easy, but as a responsible parent I must stand firm in my belief that marriage must remain as that of a man and a woman. To deliberately deny children a mother or father by supporting genderless marriage will create grave consequences. All children do best who live in a society where healthy relationships come from living with and being exposed to both genders."
Sen. Portman made headlines last month when he revealed that he had a gay son, which forced him to rethink his opposition to gay marriage, and eventually declare his support for it.
"We conservatives believe in personal liberty and minimal government interference in people's lives," Portman said. "One way to look at it is that gay couples' desire to marry doesn't amount to a threat but rather a tribute to marriage, and a potential source of renewed strength for the institution."
The Republican senator's remarks have been welcomed by many liberals, but U.S. House Speaker John Boehner, who describes himself as a "great friend" of Portman, affirmed that he still supports traditional marriage because of what his church teaches him.
The U.S. Supreme Court is currently reviewing two major gay marriage cases, and is expected to produce a ruling in June, which may have far-reaching consequences for the definition of marriage in America.
PFOX, which is focused on providing support to people who identify as ex-gay and believe that such a change is possible, have warned that same-sex marriage can have very negative consequences for America.
"The homosexual push for 'equal marriage,' otherwise known as genderless marriage, can only lead to a ban on heterosexual rights. With a president in power who endorses gay causes and readily misuses executive orders, and emboldened by their numerous wins for gay rights at the legislative and judicial level, homosexuals have now moved beyond equal rights to the 'more equal than you' level. As a result, gay organizations are working to ban that practice they fear the most – heterosexual behavior," Greg Quinlan, president of PFOX, said in a statement last year before the November General Elections.
Griggs, who is a Catholic, added in her recent statement that traditional marriage is what is best for society, but that should not be confused for a lack of support for gay people.
"As responsible members of society, we must look to what is best for the culture as a whole. All of my children, homosexual and heterosexual, benefit by living in a free society that is made possible only by legal and cultural encouragement of strong, mother-father-based families," Griggs wrote.
The PFOX executive director accused gay rights activists of teaching parents that the only way they can love their gay children is if they affirm same-sex marriage.
"Don't believe it, Sen. Portman. An organization comprised largely of parents of homosexual children, PFOX knows that parents and children can love one another unconditionally, without stipulations or strings attached. Parents like Sen. Portman and me can love our children without having to support genderless marriage," Griggs continued.
"Sen. Portman, we invite you to rethink your recent statement and for you and your wife to become honorary members of PFOX. We welcome you with open arms," she concluded.