Kirk Cameron is fighting back after coming under a barrage of criticism for remarks he made about homosexuality during an interview with Piers Morgan.
"I spoke as honestly as I could, but some people believe my responses were not loving toward those in the gay community," the "Growing Pains" star told ABC News in a statement. "That is not true. I can assuredly say that it’s my life’s mission to love all people.”
The 41-year-old actor, who is currently promoting his new film "Monumental," then went on to note:
"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.
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 (including gay friends, incidentally)."
It's been a rough few days for Cameron, who sparked a Hollywood backlash after his interview with Morgan, in which he stated he believed homosexuality was "unnatural...detrimental, and ultimately destructive to so many of the foundations of civilization." As for marriage equality, he noted, "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's claims quickly went viral on Twitter, sparking an onslaught of responses from fellow celebrities including Zach Braff and Debra Messing, as well as the actor's "Growing Pains" co-stars Tracey Gold and Alan Thicke.
Among those to denounce Cameron's remarks was Herndon Graddick, Senior Director of Programs of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD). "Cameron is out of step with a growing majority of Americans, particularly people of faith who believe that their gay and lesbian brothers and sisters should be loved and accepted based on their character and not condemned because of their sexual orientation," Graddick noted in a email statement to The Huffington Post.
Check out how various celebs and fans responded to Cameron's remarks below: