By Kevin Murphy
KANSAS CITY, Missouri (Reuters) - Actor Brad Pitt's mother has criticized gay marriage and President Barack Obama in a letter to her local newspaper in which she praises Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.
In the letter appearing on the website of Brad Pitt's boyhood hometown newspaper, the Springfield News-Leader in the U.S. state of Missouri, Jane Pitt commended Romney, a Mormon, for sharing a "Christian conviction concerning homosexuality".
She said Obama "did not hold a public ceremony to mark the National Day of Prayer, and is a liberal who supports the killing of unborn babies and same-sex marriage".
The letter published on July 3 was the most frequently viewed item on the News-Leader's website on Friday, and had generated more than 100 comments from readers. Springfield is a heavily Christian community in the heart of the Bible Belt in southern Missouri.
Jane Pitt's views on gay marriage contrast with her son, who has publicly championed same-sex marriage. Pitt has also been on friendly terms with Obama. He and actress Angelina Jolie met with him at the White House in January regarding efforts against mass atrocities and sexual violence against women.
Jane Pitt wrote that her letter was triggered by commentary from a News-Leader reader on June 15 that he could not as a Christian vote for a Mormon as president. She said that she also has differences with the Mormon religion.
"But I think any Christian should spend much time in prayer before refusing to vote for a family man with high morals, business experience, who is against abortion, and shares Christian conviction concerning homosexuality just because he is a Mormon," she wrote.
The letter drew defenders and critics among readers in the comments section of the News-Leader.
"I'm always proud of someone who stands up for their right to speak... in spite of how it may be viewed by family or friends who may disagree," one reader wrote.
But another reader wrote: "Happy to know that your son opened his thinking once he was away from this type of close-minded thinking."
A spokeswoman for Brad Pitt in Los Angeles was not immediately available for comment. The newspaper also declined to comment.
(Editing by Greg McCune and Andrew Hay)