Skip to comments.Rob Portman, Gay Marriage, and Selfishness
Posted on 03/15/2013 2:45:48 PM PDT by nickcarraway
Rob Portmans dual revelations that his son is gay and that he has decided to support gay marriage are both a touching story of familial love and another signpost in the astonishingly rapid success of the gay-rights revolution. Just over eight years ago, when Republicans gleefully seized on the gay-marriage issue to mobilize their base in Portmans own state, it was inconceivable that a statewide Democrat would endorse gay marriage, let alone a Republican. The triumph of the issue relies upon the changing of minds some thanks to force of argument, others to personal contact with gay friends, colleagues, and neighbors. From that standpoint, Portmans conversion is a Very Good Thing. And yet as a window into the working of Portmans mind, his conversion is a confession of moral failure, one of which he appears unaware.
Here is the story Portman tells, in a Columbus Dispatch op-ed, of how he came to change his mind:
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.
By Portmans own account, in other words, he opposed gay marriage until he realized that opposition to gay marriage stands in the way of his own sons happiness.
Wanting your children to be happy is the most natural human impulse. But our responsibility as political beings and the special responsibility of those who hold political power is to consider issues from a societal perspective.
It is possible to argue that the societal cost of granting the right to gay marriage or, say, access to health insurance outweighs the benefit. The signal failure of conservative thought is an inability to give any weight to the perspective of the disadvantaged. Its one thing to argue that society cant afford to provide all its citizens with access to health insurance. Its quite another to dismiss the needs of the uninsured because the majority has insurance. In his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention, Paul Ryan dismissed universal health insurance as a new entitlement we didnt even ask for. The construction was so telling we meant the majority who have access to regular medical care and would rather not subsidize those who dont.
It is also possible to change your mind on any of these questions. I support the estate tax. If I discovered my children were due to inherit a fortune from a long lost relative, its possible that the experience would prompt me to change my mind. Id like to think it wouldnt. And if I did change my mind, Id have some obligation to explain how I had learned something new in the process of suddenly becoming the father of wealthy heirs estate planning is way more onerous than I thought! rather than simply construct a new rationale to suit my newly discovered self-interest. If I simply declared that my childrens newfound wealth had given me a previously absent sympathy for the economic rights of the very rich, you would rightly question the value of my thinking on anything.
In President Obamas interview explaining his reversal on gay marriage, he cited contact with gay friends, but also wrestled with the competing demands of gay happiness against the prerogative of those wedded to traditional practices. (When I hear from them the pain they feel that somehow they are still considered less than full citizens when it comes to their legal rights then for me, I think it it just has tipped the scales in that direction.)
Portman ought to be able to recognize that, even if he changed his mind on gay marriage owing to personal experience, the logic stands irrespective of it: Support for gay marriage would be right even if he didnt have a gay son. Theres little sign that any such reasoning has crossed his mind.
In a CNN interview, Dana Bash repeatedly prodded Portman to reconcile his previous opposition to gay rights (which extended not only to marriage but also to not getting fired for being gay). He repeatedly confessed that it all came down to his own family: But you know, what happened to me is really personal. I mean, I hadn't thought a lot about this issue. Again, my focus has been on other issues over my public policy career
What would Portman say to gay constituents who may be glad he's changing his position on gay marriage, but also wondering why it took having a gay son to come around to supporting their rights? "Well, I would say that, you know, I've had a change of heart based on a personal experience. That's certainly true," he responded with a shoulder shrug.
But he also repeated a reality. His policy focus has been almost exclusively on economic issues.
"Now it's different, you know. I hadn't expected to be in this position. But I do think, you know, having spent a lot of time thinking about it and working through this issue personally that, you know, this is where I am, for reasons that are consistent with my political philosophy, including family values, including being a conservative who believes the family is a building block of society, so I'm comfortable there now."
Its pretty simple. Portman went along with his partys opposition to gay marriage because it didnt affect him. He thought about gay rights the way Paul Ryan thinks about health care. And he still obviously thinks about most issues the way Paul Ryan thinks about health care.
That Portman turns out to have a gay son is convenient for the gay-rights cause. But why should any of us come away from his conversion trusting that Portman is thinking on any issue about whats good for all of us, rather than whats good for himself and the people he knows?
Another “Etch-a-Sketch” Republican.
Has he considered the relative importance of his son’s short term “happiness” and his son’s salvation? Perhaps I’m just stuffy, at least by liberal standards, but I would put following God’s word ahead of satisfying carnal desires on my list of priorities. I also suspect those who are tempted toward homosexual attractions are happier if they resist those urges, just as those who are tempted toward adultery are happier if they resist that desire and remain faithful in their marriages.
Where are the principles? When it affects you (and your son), you change your principles? Talk about opportunistic. I have less respect for these slimeball Republicans than those flaming liberals.
It is more loving to tell your child they are wrong than to support their bad choices.
Being pro-life is more important to gays than marriage? Or being pro abortion is?
According to whom? Why?
I’m sure gay groups would say his economic policies are the equivalent of gay bashing, so he should switch all his policies, or he’s just as bad as if he was against gay marriage.
Maybe I was confusing. Gay groups are fervently pro-abortion, and believe someone who is pro-life is just as bad or worse than someone who is against same-sex marriage. I’ve heard them say being pro-life is gay bashing.
Didn’t get the memo huh?
We were told by our fellow ‘conservatives’ that principles do not matter. Well, this is exactly WHY they matter. But that won’t stop many here from voting ‘moderate’ to ‘WIN’.
I’m gonna stick with the Pope on this one.
I don’t know Chait’s work, but he’s 100% right on this one.
If gay marriage is wrong, then it’s wrong regardless of how many gay children Portman has.
If it’s okay because his son is gay, then it was always okay and Portman was opposing it because he thought he could gain political advantage for opposing it.
I really hate politicians like Portman, who feed into the media narrative that Republicans are selfish and only out for themselves. It’s offensive.
This is another shallow politician with no underlying philosophy. If one of my children “came out” I would not change my views on gay marriage.
By the way, it gives me great joy to beat up liberals. I suppose senator portman would support me and hope for my happiness!
Dennis Prager said it best today; You either believe in a principle or you don’t, having a gay son shouldn’t change one’s stance.
Portman is a WISHY WASHY WUSS! !!!!! He DEGRADED himself about his son having IMMORAL SEX???? DISGUSTING!!
I couldn’t agree with Prager more. You don’t change your principles to make your child happy. Portman looks shallow and selfish.
In contrast, Alan Keyes has a lesbian daughter, yet still opposes gay marriage, though of course he loves his daughter. It’s the failure to make such distinctions that’s a wide problem in contemporary society.
AMEN!!!! Does NO ONE think about ETERNITY anymore?????
A dick that will seek to advance law that persecutes those that refuse to support and service homosexual behavior.
Glad to hear he said that. Perhaps someone will listen this time and not make all the excuses they did for why everyone from G. Washington to Reagan was wrong about the whole principle thing because...OBAMA!
And as I said....If Portman’s son was a Kleptomaniac, would Portman want that PESKY COMMANDMENT to go away??? <P.Portman is a HUGE.....H U G E DIsappointment.....thank GOD for Pope Francis!!!
Thank you. Yes it is. I remember Bill Cosby once saying that if your child doesn't, at some point in their childhood, hate you; you are not doing your job.
I did my job; and, those times when I had to say no, or I had to step in and discipline them for something they had done were hard things to do. I love my children. But, they needed to learn that they can't just do anything, or have everything.
I want to see people publicly ask idiots like this what other sex practices deserve governmental legislation/acceptance? Why should a Homosexual get special recognition and not a hetro foot fetishist or someone into BDSM?
That is a serious question that when answered, would show the utter stupidity of the situation.
Hey....why not THREE people MARRIED??? Why not marry your DOG or CAT??? Really....Portman is DEAD to me....I always thought he was kind of EFFEMINATE but I liked him.....ugh....he;s just like a DEMOCRAT!!
Is there a plague of homosexuality going on, or is the culture turning otherwise normal kids into homosexuals?
When one supports the same issues as a Democrat, one IS a democrat. It’s one thing to say I think we should support green power (a dem issue). That can be argued as conservative or not. But Homosexualizing the country is no little issue. It’s 100% dem and a foundational one of humanity.
He and most of the GOP are in reality Dems. And people who support Dems and Dem issues ARE dems. Regardless of what they call themselves on the internet.
Basically the message is, 'Your soul is worthless to me. I'd rather have the accolades of the world that will commend my tolerance, and a smile from my son today -- even though an eternity in hell awaits the unrepentant sinner.'
That is not love, it is the epitome of selfishness and hate for lost souls.
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Traditional Values Coalition president Andrea Lafferty issued the following statement in reaction to Ohio Senator Rob Portman's recent repudiation of his stance against gay marriage in reaction to his son's homosexual preferences: These past few days have been very painful ones for me.
Earlier this week one of my children came to me and told me something which was shocking.
He is a drunk driver and has been driving drunk regularly since college.
I have taken several days to reflect on this and I have decided to reverse my earlier opposition to drunk driving.
My child is a drunk driver and I love him. It is a part of his identity, who he is.
I have reflected on all of this, consulted Scripture (the story of Jesus changing water into wine when the wedding he was attending in Cana ran dry is particularly relevant) and decided that drunk driving is a generational issue. Younger people take a much different view of drunk driving than older people.
Therefore, today I am reversing my opposition to drunk driving. My child has caused me to revisit a decision which, up until now, had been based simply on morality.
All of these politicans grasping for votes overlook the fact that this is perversion. It is unnatural! They don’t seem to care that they are exposing the people to something that is not normal.
DISGUSTING! Rob Portman is DISGUSTING!!! WHo the HELL wants to know that his son is a QUEER doing ABNORMAL, IMMORAL ACTS to ANOTHER GUY???????DISGUSTING....
Good bye, Rob. May God have mercy on your soul.
Just remember the disgust you feel right at this second the next time you see a fellow Freeper say we have to vote for moderates to win. Because THIS is what we ‘win’.
Why not a sixteen-year-old, or a ten-year-old?
If Portman's son was "born" a pedophile, then wouldn't it be only loving and fatherly to wish the son to find happiness with some sweet, obliging teen (which, in keeping with most of the 'gays' I know, Portman's son probably already has,if only while he himself was a teen)?
Speaking of which. Every male homosexual I know has issues with his daddy--he was mean, he was cold, he just wasn't there, etc. etc.
And every homosexual woman I know loathes, or at least at one time loathed, her mother--couldn't please her, couldn't measure up, and so on.
Obviously I don't know all the homos in the world. But through work and simply life I have known and, frankly, befriended a bunch of them.
My hunch is that Portman is NOT only finding his inner gay parentalness...he also has a closet-full of guilt over being a piss-poor dad.
When will he be announcing his resignation?
I’m sure his constituents voted for and wished to represented by his Gay Son.
That kid is a hell of a campaigner
Bingo....or Rob is LIMP wristed himself!!!
Or had a domineering mother and an uninvolved/absent dad who didn't 'protect' her from an abusive mother.
All along he has said his faith is why he was against gay marriage. So, obviously he lost his faith. But the truth of the matter is he looks and acts a little light in the loafers himself.
When a child is not restrained by moral or ethical principles there is a real threat of blackmail such as a family tell all book. Not something a public figure wants to see happen.
Portman was a solid pro-life, pro-gun, pro-marriage type congressman here in Ohio’s 2d district. He NEVER would have been elected if he hadn’t been absolutely conservative.
My own sense is that the gay son story doesn’t wash. There’s truth and there’s familial good feelings.
He’s saying that truth changes to accommodate good feelings.
Next thing we know he’ll be “weeping George Voinovich” talking about being a democrat.
Moreover, I would say that he is sentencing his son to death. Truly sad that conservatives love his son more than the boy’s own dad does.
I have used this point, only to be met with the typical liberal “that’s different!”. It’s not.
The widely accepted, traditional relationship in Western civilization has been one man committing to one woman, and trying to have children, to continue our civilization. Now, throughout our history, many people have walked outside of the normal when it comes to their sexual desires. Some men love foot-worship and bondage. Some women love rape-fantasies and spanking. Others engage in more deviant things like incest, homosexuality, bestiality, and polyamory.
Whatever you do behind closed doors, in privacy, is your own business. I not only have no right to tell two consenting adults what they can and can’t do, but I also don’t want to hear about it. It’s private. It’s deeply personal.
I don’t agree with selling these things to children as ‘normal’ or ‘desirable’. The only thing that is normal and desirable is the nuclear family, the core of our society. That is it. Having parades and public university lectures on these things is the same as public nudism. It should be covered under public indecency laws. When you step into the public arena, there is a traditional expectation that you are respectful and decent, regardless of how out-of-the-ordinary you are behind closed doors.
Liberals are all hypocrites. There are no immediate, practical reasons beyond those that apply to regular homosexuality, to oppose incestuous homosexuality. Both are taboo for the same reason. Morality. Biblical-based morality. The foundation of our society. You can’t throw centuries of Judeo-Christian tradition and ethics overboard for one group of sexual misfits, and then haul it back into the boat again for another group. It’s lunacy.
There is something about him that makes my skin crawl.
To me he is just another opportunistic, old-guard republican.
I thought it was a good move for conservatism when the predictions he would be picked as the 2012 VP candidate turned out to be wrong.
It is as the Church teaches, hate the sin, love the sinner.
Rob Portman's son molests children and rapes their dead bodies.
So he's changed his mind, because Lord knows, whatever your child is into, it must be good and supported.
...and homosexual sex fits neatly into this family perspective how exactly?
I assume he loves his child; HOWEVER, he does not choose to have sex with his child. He is wrong to equate love with sex and family with homosexual sex.
If his son shot and killed someone, I guess that would now be acceptable to RINO worms.
Gay groups are quite militant nowadays, as are gays in general. But there are pro-life gay groups online and maybe in the real world as well -- some in places where you might not think there are any gays, and some in places where you might not think there are any pro-lifers.
Single issue groups get a bad rap in politics for being divisive. The gay marriage claque may deserve it, but the pro-life movement has been pretty good about not second-guessing or writing off people.
This may be part of a general move to the left by Portman or it may not be, but the pro-life movement, so far as I can tell, still wants his vote, and they may still get it, however stray individuals may react.
I would note that Jonathan Chait, who wrote this, was also the author of “Why I Hate George W. Bush” back in 2003, a rollicking defense of the kind of emotionality and subjectivism in politics that he deplores here.
If Portman was intellectually and philosophically honest, he would resign his senate seat and request that Kasich appoint his son.
Of course from the sounds of things, his son's seat is already filled.