Ohio Republican Senator Rob Portman Says He Now Supports Same-Sex Marriage

Ohio Republican Senator Rob Portman - photo by Jim Gillooly/PEIOhio Republican Senator Rob Portman has reversed his longstanding position against same-sex marriage. Portman said his stance evolved two years ago when his own son came out as gay to he and his wife. “It allowed me to think of this issue from a new perspective,” said Portman ” “[O]f a Dad who loves his son a lot and wants him to have the same opportunities that his brother and sister would have — to have a relationship like Jane and I have had for over 26 years.”

Portman is the latest conservative to show delayed compassion due to a direct personal connection to an issue. Yes, I know our own president “evolved” on this issue as well, but President Obama isn’t a member of a political party that states in its platform that marriage is between a man and a woman. And that is an important distinction. Even back in the days when Barack Obama did not support gay marriage, he didn’t go out of his way to deny equal marriage rights. In fact, even before Obama publicly announced his support for marriage equality, he had already instructed the Department of Justice to stop enforcing DOMA (Defense Of  Marriage Act).

So this brings me back to Senator Rob Portman and my overarching critique of the conservatives and the Republican Party. I applaud Portman’s evolution on this issue, but this is yet another representation of the lack of empathy employed by the Right. They just don’t “get it” until they are personally affected. You don’t have empathy because you support an issue due to family connections. You have empathy when you can feel someone else’s anguish or burden even when you don’t have the same anguish or burden in your life. And that is the issue I have with conservatives. Too many on the Right have too much passion for their own issues and too little passion for the plight of others.

photo by Jim Gillooly/PEI

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