(NEW YORK) — Kirk Cameron is fighting back against the “hate speech” he feels he’s endured since calling homosexuality “unnatural,” “detrimental,” and “ultimately destructive to so many of the foundations of civilization” during a Friday appearance on CNN’s Piers Morgan Tonight to promote his new film, Monumental.
In an email statement released exclusively to ABC News on Tuesday, Cameron said that when Morgan asked him to share his views on homosexuality, “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.”
“I should be able to express moral views on social issues,” he said, “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 concluded, “I believe we need to learn how to debate these things with greater love and respect,” and added, “I’ve been encouraged by the support of many friends (including gay friends, incidentally).”
Cameron’s Growing Pains co-stars Tracey Gold and Alan Thicke have spoken out against his comments, along with many other celebrities. Over the weekend, GLAAD launched a petition called Tell Kirk Cameron It’s Time to Finally Grow Up.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Eric Levenson, CNN
Sandra Gonzalez, CNN
Madison Park, Keith Allen and Andreas Preuss, CNN