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Senator Portman and His Switch on Gay Marriage

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  • Strongly Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Portland, OR
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    Senator Rob Portman became the first sitting United States Republican Senator to express his support for gay marriage. His reasoning: his son came out to Mr. Portman and his wife two years ago and his position has evolved after spending much time considering his sons choice. This is the same Senator Portman that was a co-sponsor of the "Defense of Marriage Act" when he was a United States Representative in 1996.

    I am not here to suggest that it is ironic that he only changed his position on gay marriage only after finding out that his son is indeed gay. I am actually ecstatic that he has changed his viewpoint and I only hope that he is one of many Republicans that begin to step forward to voice their opinion in favor of gay marriage. What does frustrate me is that social conservatives have difficulty understanding how hypocritical they seem when they change their political positions on social issues because it directly affects them.

    As the Supreme Court takes up the Defense of Marriage Act and California's Proposition 8, I only hope that some of the conservative jurists spend a long time thinking about what our Declaration of Independence guarantees for everyone in this country: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. I do not see anywhere in that document, or the United States Constitution, that says "except for homosexuals."
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    jaredsxtn Wrote: Senator Rob Portman became the first sitting United States Republican Senator to express his support for gay marriage. His reasoning: his son came out to Mr. Portman and his wife two years ago and his position has evolved after spending much time considering his sons choice. This is the same Senator Portman that was a co-sponsor of the "Defense of Marriage Act" when he was a United States Representative in 1996.

    I am not here to suggest that it is ironic that he only changed his position on gay marriage only after finding out that his son is indeed gay. I am actually ecstatic that he has changed his viewpoint and I only hope that he is one of many Republicans that begin to step forward to voice their opinion in favor of gay marriage. What does frustrate me is that social conservatives have difficulty understanding how hypocritical they seem when they change their political positions on social issues because it directly affects them.

    As the Supreme Court takes up the Defense of Marriage Act and California's Proposition 8, I only hope that some of the conservative jurists spend a long time thinking about what our Declaration of Independence guarantees for everyone in this country: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. I do not see anywhere in that document, or the United States Constitution, that says "except for homosexuals."
    Tis indeed ironic and sad. I would expect a representative of the people to have a wee bit empathy. He never wondered what it would be like to have a child tell him that? Nope. He lived on priciples till reality hit him in the nuts. Now take away his health insurance and give him a reputured appendix so he knows the horror of being at deaths door with no coverage. Those without empathy need to experience so let the experiencing begin.
  • Democrat
    Meridian, MS
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    You are correct in saying the Constitution does NOT say anything about lesbians or homosexuals. It does say that all men are created equal, which AGAIN, makes no mention of women, lesbians, or homosexuals. I do believe that their use of the term MEN does imply women though, just no way to prove that. Remember society in the 1700s did not address the issue of gender bias or sexual preferences. Does this mean these biases were not present during those times? My best guess is that they were, but were just not openly discussed, and who knows, maybe not even discussed in private ether. Irregardless, the Constitution and Amendments were adopted and put into law without any mention of LGBT or anything close to it. Therefore, it is my contention that ANY group or individual who says that the founders meant this or that is totally off-base. Those authors could not have envisioned anything even remotely close to our situation today. Not the SIZE of our country, its SOCIAL SECURITY SYSTEM, its MEDICARE/MEDICAID SYSTEMS, its DIVERSITY, its MAKEUP, its LEGAL ISSUES, its HUMAN RIGHTS ISSUES, its ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES, its HUGE GAP in ECONOMIC STATUS, and a myriad of other situations and events that have or are occurring.

    For all these reasons, our Constitution undoubtedly needs updates. Not in a lot of the language, but in those specific areas where our lifestyles, population, and diversities are so different than in those early years that it just makes plain sense to do it.

    As a parallel example, let's look at our highway/automobile systems and laws. Obviously over time, the same time I am referring to above, our country has progressed from horse back and horse drawn buggies as the main source of transportation, to a system of state highways, national highways, interstates, toll roads, etc. that the founders never dreamed of or considered in any way. We also have a system of laws and rules regarding this transportation, including speed limits and laws to enforce them. Does the Constitution say anything about 2-lane, 4-lane or interstate highways, or laws to govern their travel speed? Yet Americans have had the ingenuity to not only create these new modes of transportation, but to also create new laws to govern their use. No one objected because the Constitution says nothing about this. The same is true for any and all other areas in our society today. It is our responsible duty to amend this great document WHENEVER it is needed. It sure seems to me that doing this will eliminate any/all of the guess-work that goes on now, regarding each and every contentious issue that comes up in our society. It sure seems like the Supreme Court would have a much easier job in interpreting our laws.
  • Democrat
    Philadelphia, PA
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    If the majority of the voters in a State or even in the country votes for Gay Marrige so be it, it will be the law of the land, however to have a sitting Congressman who holds a staunch view of being against Gay Marrige , irrespective of the fact that perhaps many of his constitute's are gay,and regardless of that fact many of his constituents are parents of gay children, he still held true to his convictions and viewpoints on being against Gay Marraige, but now that his child has declared that he is Gay all bets are off, he now joins the opposition in furthering Gay causes. I don't believe he had a so-called Road to Damascus moment which caused him to change his mind, also I don't think he was being empathic either, it is called being a hypocrite, you cannot be for something one day and now because you know someone personally that is being affected by your views which causes you now to change your view the next day is not being empathic but instead it shows a man with sand under his feet.
  • Independent
    New Hampshire
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    If the GOP and Tea Party were in a stronger position would he be making that statement? We know that politicians will do and say anything to get votes. The are romancing many minorities and yielding ground to present a better image for future elections. Portman had better hope that others in his party take a softer stance on these issues for if they don't he could easily end up, "One of them." We all know that a Good Christian can not forgive, have ommpassion or vield on anything associated with family values.
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    johnnycee Wrote: If the majority of the voters in a State or even in the country votes for Gay Marrige so be it, it will be the law of the land, however to have a sitting Congressman who holds a staunch view of being against Gay Marrige , irrespective of the fact that perhaps many of his constitute's are gay,and regardless of that fact many of his constituents are parents of gay children, he still held true to his convictions and viewpoints on being against Gay Marraige, but now that his child has declared that he is Gay all bets are off, he now joins the opposition in furthering Gay causes. I don't believe he had a so-called Road to Damascus moment which caused him to change his mind, also I don't think he was being empathic either, it is called being a hypocrite, you cannot be for something one day and now because you know someone personally that is being affected by your views which causes you now to change your view the next day is not being empathic but instead it shows a man with sand under his feet.
    What???? Cling to ones beliefs when facts contradict? That is the definition of thick as a brick. And your uses of empathy in what you wrote show you don't know what empathy is. An empath would never be against gay marriage or cutting foodstamps or any of the Republican ideas that would cause harm to some folks.
  • Democrat
    Philadelphia, PA
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    The Congressman was only being empathic towards his son, not the gay communitty, now he may be more sympathetic towards gays and their issues because of his son, but that does not make in empathic,now if he changes his views based on empirical data than I would say he was not being a hypocrite but his change is merely emotional. I,for one do not want any legistrators basing his or her decisions regarding passing or not passing of Bills on emotions .
  • Independent
    Ft.myers, FL
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    johnnycee Wrote: The Congressman was only being empathic towards his son, not the gay communitty, now he may be more sympathetic towards gays and their issues because of his son, but that does not make in empathic,now if he changes his views based on empirical data than I would say he was not being a hypocrite but his change is merely emotional. I,for one do not want any legistrators basing his or her decisions regarding passing or not passing of Bills on emotions .
    No I do not agree; this guy is indeed a hypocrite for 100%!! So if the guy would be all of a sudden poor he would become at once a Democrat?
    No it is only "me, me, me" and my environment what counts; I'm elected by the people but I'm only concerned about myself and probably his bank account in the Caymans.
  • Democrat
    Philadelphia, PA
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    Dutch:
    I thought I was saying that he was a hypocrite, someone posted that he was now more empathic towards gays and that was the reason for his change of mind, which I disagreed with.
  • Independent
    Ft.myers, FL
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    johnnycee Wrote: Dutch:
    I thought I was saying that he was a hypocrite, someone posted that he was now more empathic towards gays and that was the reason for his change of mind, which I disagreed with.
    Sorry; you said:
    "than I would say he was not being a hypocrite but his change is merely emotional"
  • Democrat
    Philadelphia, PA
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    read more closely, "if he changes his mind based on empirical data,then he is not a hypocrite" you and I both know that he based his reversal of views on emotions,which makes him a hypocrite
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    johnnycee Wrote: The Congressman was only being empathic towards his son, not the gay communitty, now he may be more sympathetic towards gays and their issues because of his son, but that does not make in empathic,now if he changes his views based on empirical data than I would say he was not being a hypocrite but his change is merely emotional. I,for one do not want any legistrators basing his or her decisions regarding passing or not passing of Bills on emotions .
    The congressman was SYMPATHETIC. Just so you know, the last time I saw a mangling of the two words like this it was by a Republican congressman during Sotomayer's grilling. Are you that dude?
  • Democrat
    Philadelphia, PA
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    I am not, as you posted the mangling the two words, one can be sympathic but not empathic, all I am saying is if that the congessman had given a long and carefull study of his former position on Gays and their issues and came to a different conclusion,then I don't have a problem with that, but to base your new changed position solely on emotions,which I believed he did, that makes him a hypocrite.Him being sympathic prior to his change of mind does not make any difference. BTW, I am not that dude, I am neither a congressman or a republician.
  • Independent
    New Hampshire
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    I don't believe his position has changed and his motive is to get votes. In case you haven't noticed the GOP/Tea Party will be taking a milder position on several key issues as we approach the next election. Once in office with control pf both the House and Senate watch them chenge. The problim is the Democrats do the same thing.
  • Independent
    Ft.myers, FL
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    jperry Wrote: I don't believe his position has changed and his motive is to get votes. In case you haven't noticed the GOP/Tea Party will be taking a milder position on several key issues as we approach the next election. Once in office with control pf both the House and Senate watch them chenge. The problim is the Democrats do the same thing.
    I just wonder, if indeed this is a milder position. I guess it totally depends on what the "tea party" affiliates will allow; they have continually shown not to budge; certainly Ryan, Paul who stick to their "church" beliefs, so getting milder must be fake like.