Ohio Senator Rob Portman is a changed man as of today when the formerly anti-gay marriage Republican's son came out as gay ... two years ago.
In an interview, Portman said that his son's sexuality was "not a choice; it was who he is and that he had been that way since he could remember."
He also admitted, “It allowed me to think of this from a new perspective, and that’s of 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.”
Welcome, senator, to the over 50% of America that is in favor of gay marriage. Glad to have you.
There are a few important points to acknowledge as Proposition 8 and DOMA are taken into consideration by the Supreme Court. The first is that the arguments against gay marriage have largely been made in religious language. Hate-mongering politicians and religious leaders use narrowly read passages as a way to condemn LGBT relationships.
Fortunately, we live in a country based on the idea that the church and the state are separate, and that you cannot remove or revoke a person’s rights based on the religious beliefs of one group. Indeed, those in positions of political power would do well to rethink their place in politics if they cannot separate their religion from their political decision-making.
This does not mean that politics and morality should be divorced; quite the opposite is true, and when a religious argument is used to further or perpetrate some injustice, it is the responsibility of government to act with the good of all of its citizens in mind. The perfect historical example of this can be seen by the use of carefully selected biblical passages to support separation of the races during the civil rights movement. As recalled by Geoffery Stone, “The Rev. James E. Burks of Bayview Baptist Church in Norfolk, Virginia, insisted that God had separated the races,” and that to ignore this divinely ordained division is to assume the role of God.
Arguments like this should not be allowed anywhere near American political debate. If laws were enacted reducing the marriage equality of any other group in the United States, for example, Muslims, or Catholics, or inter-racial couples. This would be the equivalent of creating a second class of citizens. Everything about American democracy stands against this notion, so why should marriage rights for the LGBT community be any different? The answer is, they shouldn't. And slowly, slowly some Republicans are starting to make the connection.