Senator Portman's change of heart on gay marriage
Ohio Senator Rob Portman, has done a 180 degree turn on the issue of gay marriage.
The reason is simple; his son recently came out as gay and Portman has a different perspective on the issue than he had before.
In a heartfelt column Portman penned for the Columbus Dispatch, the senator gives us a glimpse into his struggle with the issue:
Two years ago, my son Will, then a college freshman, told my wife, Jane, and me that he is gay. He said he'd known for some time, and that his sexual orientation wasn't something he chose; it was simply a part of who he is. Jane and I were proud of him for his honesty and courage. We were surprised to learn he is gay but knew he was still the same person he'd always been. The only difference was that now we had a more complete picture of the son we love.
At the time, my position on marriage for same-sex couples was rooted in my faith tradition that marriage is a sacred bond between a man and a woman. Knowing that my son is gay prompted me to consider the issue from another perspective: that of a dad who wants all three of his kids to lead happy, meaningful lives with the people they love, a blessing Jane and I have shared for 26 years.
I wrestled with how to reconcile my Christian faith with my desire for Will to have the same opportunities to pursue happiness and fulfillment as his brother and sister. Ultimately, it came down to the Bible's overarching themes of love and compassion and my belief that we are all children of God.
Well-intentioned people can disagree on the question of marriage for gay couples, and maintaining religious freedom is as important as pursuing civil marriage rights. For example, I believe that no law should force religious institutions to perform weddings or recognize marriages they don't approve of.
While conservatives have been busy fighting gay marriage in state legislatures over the past decade, a sea change has taken place in America. More and more sons and daughters are outing themselves to their parents who are then faced with the stark choice of disowning their children or embracing them. Portman's struggle is mirrored across the country as American society slowly evolves to accept gay people as people and the idea of gay marriage gains majority support.
As more and more Americans realize that they are related to, or work with, or live next to someone who is gay, it is inevitable that acceptance follows. This doesn't mean that opposing gay marriage is bigoted. People of good conscience can disagree (something the left refuses to acknowledge while trying to ram gay marriage down the throats of people by co-opting the legisalture and using the courts to gain their objective).
Ten years ago, only 20% of Republicans supported gay marriage. That number has doubled to 40% today with much higher precentages the younger the voter. Each in their own conscience must come to terms with modern realities and either stand or bend depending on their beliefs.
All we can be sure of is that the future will look different than the present.