Kirk Cameron is responding to a barrage of criticism by celebrities and gay rights groups following his anti-gay comments during in an interview last week on CNN's Piers Morgan Tonight.
Cameron -- who is an active advocate for conservative Christian values -- told Morgan: "Marriage is almost as old as dirt, and it was defined in the garden between Adam and Eve." He added: "One man, one woman for life till death do you part. So do I support the idea of gay marriage? No, I don't." During the interview, Cameron also called homosexuality "unnatural" and said he believes it is "detrimental and ultimately destructive to so many of the foundations of civilization."
In an email 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."
Cameron indicated that his comments were being unfairly attacked. "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."
His email concluded: "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)."
Among those to criticize Cameron's comments were Growing Pains co-star Alan Thicke, who said he believed the former star's views are out of date. "I'm getting him some new books. The Old Testament simply can't be expected to explain everything." Former co-star Tracey Gold also weighed in and declared that she remains a strong supporter of the LGBT community and "believes in equal rights for all.
Other celebrities to voice criticism via Twitter were Modern Family's Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Will & Grace star Debra Messing and Raising Hope's Martha Plimpton.
The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) has also expressed concern and released a new statement on Tuesday in response to the actor's latest comments. "Saying that gay people are 'detrimental to civilization' might be 'loving' in Kirk Cameron's mind, but it's gay youth and victims of bullying who truly suffer from adults like Cameron who espouse these ideas," said GLAAD spokesman Herndon Graddick.