Actor Kirk Cameron has drawn the ire of many gay rights activists over his remarks against homosexuality made during a live telecast of CNN's "Piers Morgan Tonight" on CNN last week.
While being interviewed about his new film "Monumental: In Search of America's National Treasure" during the March 2 show, Cameron expressed his opinion about gay marriage. He said he thought homosexuality was "unnatural."
"I think that it's detrimental and ultimately destructive to so many of the foundations of civilization," the actor told Morgan.
Cameron, 41, who is an evangelical Christian, also spoke out against gay marriage.
"Marriage is almost as old as dirt, and it was defined in the garden between Adam and Eve. One man, one woman for life till death do you part. So I would never attempt to try to redefine marriage. And I don't think anyone else should either," Cameron continued.
"So do I support the idea of gay marriage? No, I don't," he said.
The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation issued a statement over the weekend condemning the actor's comments.
Celebrities including actors Jesse Tyler Ferguson from ABC's "Modern Family," Jane Lynch, Debra Messing, George Clooney, and Brad Pitt have slammed Cameron for his comments.
CNN's Morgan told TMZ.com that he found Cameron's views "antiquated" but said the actor was "brave" to share them.
Meanwhile, thousands of people across the country have expressed their support of Cameron's stance against homosexuality.
The actor spoke about the backlash against his anti-gay comments for the first time Tuesday.
"I believe that freedom of speech and freedom of religion go hand-in-hand in America," Cameron said in a statement released by his publicist.
"I should be able to express moral views on social issues--especially those that have been the underpinning of Western civilization for 2,000 years--without being slandered, accused of hate speech, and told from those who preach "tolerance" that I need to either bend my beliefs to their moral standards or be silent when I'm in the public square," he said. **Read Cameron's entire statement below.
The "Growing Pains" actor has also been slammed by critics for his pro-life views.
"I think that it's wrong, under any circumstances," Cameron told Morgan during the CNN interview. "I think that someone who is ultimately willing to murder a child, even to fix another tragic and devastating situation - like rape or incest or things like that - is not taking the moral highroad."
The actor, who is a father of six children, also explained that he would support a pregnant daughter, even when the conception was a result of rape.
"I love my daughter, I love that little child. This is a little creature made in God's image," Cameron said. "I value life above all things."
Cameron's latest film, "Monumental: In Search of America's National Treasure" is set to open as a live telecast event hosted by the actor in 450 theaters across the country on Mar. 27.
The documentary will then open in select theaters Mar. 30.
Actor Kirk Cameron's statement:
"In a recent interview about my film, Monumental, I was asked to share my views on homosexuality, gay marriage, and abortion. I spoke as honestly as I could, but some people believe my responses were not loving toward those in the gay community. That is not true. I can assuredly say that it's my life's mission to love all people.
The only way to properly answer these kind of questions is to begin the discussion with another question: Is life and sexuality sacred or are they not? If they are, then God has something to say about these things. If not, then everyone is entitled to their own opinion on the matter.
I believe that freedom of speech and freedom of religion go hand-in-hand in America. I should be able to express moral views on social issues--especially those that have been the underpinning of Western civilization for 2,000 years--without being slandered, accused of hate speech, and told from those who preach "tolerance" that I need to either bend my beliefs to their moral standards or be silent when I'm in the public square.
In any society that is governed by the rule of law, some form of morality is always imposed. It's inescapable. But it is also a complicated subject, and that is why I believe we need to learn how to debate these things with greater love and respect.
I've been encouraged by the support of many friends. Thank you! I look forward to those who will join me as I seek to show you our true "National Treasure," at the live, nationwide viewing of "Monumental" on Tuesday, March 27th."