Excepting the papal election of Bergoglio to Francis, I think one of the biggest news is Sen. Rob Portman‘s public switch to support gay marriage (Politico). (My own opinion is that I basically support gay marriage; and if I’d have to give it a percentage, I’d say between 90-95%.) In the view of some, this is a momentous thing, especially since there are no sitting Republican senators who publicly supported it before now. For others, this is a natural progression of the social changes coming to the U.S. and it was inevitable that the Republican Party would support it eventually, starting with the individual members. A lot of non-politician Republicans are relatively happy since most of them supported (or at least didn’t actively oppose) gay marriage. Probably the only people mad is the social conservative base of the Republicans.
I commend Sen. Portman for switching because there is a good chance that he’ll get ‘primaried’, but I hope he doesn’t just because of this issue. It was probably awkward to express a belief to the nation when a member of his own family felt that he was being discriminated upon. I don’t know how the son told his father, but it seems to have worked because his father has not only tolerated him, but accepted him. A good father knows to put his family before his job, and Portman definitely did that in this situation.
However, I have to give a note of caution/concern with this particular story. I can’t reiterate enough that it’s great that Sen. Portman has public changed his views in support of his son (in addition to other motives). However, I’ll truly celebrate when a politician changes their views not because of their family, but because it’s the right thing to do. A courageous politician is someone who makes an action or pushes for legislation not because they are personally affected, but because it should be done. I think it is courageous when non-Native Americans vote for greater Native American protection or when males gives greater protections to women when it is not popular. When a politician switches a position, we usually here it is ‘because of politics’. When you do something in support of something that does not stand to benefit you personally, but is for the best of the country, then that is something that is not only courageous, but is honorable.
- Sen. Rob Portman comes out in favor of gay marriage after son comes out as gay | cleveland.com (cleveland.com)
- Sen. Rob Portman reverses gay marriage position in CNN interview (cnnpressroom.blogs.cnn.com)
- Rob Portman, GOP senator, now supports gay marriage; son inspired ‘change of heart’ (abclocal.go.com)