Gay Marriage Hits Home with Senator Portman

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It really does not matter how conservative you are when a child whom you love unconditionally, tells you they are gay. That is what Senator Rob Portman, a Republican senator from Ohio discovered. He is only one of many who, though staunchly socially conservative, find they begin to see things differently when one of their children comes out to them.

I think most of us love our children without exception and their happiness is tantamount to our own happiness. In other words, we cannot be happy unless we know our children are happy. Just because our child is gay, does not mean we do not want them to find love in their lives and happiness through a committed relationship, just as much as if they were heterosexual.

Another very conservative Republican, former Vice President Dick Cheney also is a supporter of gay marriage to some degree. Now, I am not a fan of his and I am a very outspoken critic of his actions in the White House, but kudos to him for being human enough to love his children without reservation. One of his daughters, Mary is a lesbian and though it puts him at odds with other conservatives and his former boss, former president George W. Bush, he supports gay marriage. That is, as long as it is left up to the states, even during his years in the White House.  

Senator Portman’s recent announcement came after his son Will, told him and his wife that he was gay.  Though he has been a strong opponent of gay marriage when it comes to his voting record, the senator has had a heart change, saying:

“It allowed me to think of this issue 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.”

Love can open eyes, though some may say it has closed some eyes too. All I can say is, if it came from love, then it cannot be too bad. All of us who love our children, know very well that we would do anything for our children if they needed us, as long as it was legal, and perhaps for some, even if it was illegal, especially if it was to protect them. Their own child’s happiness is sometimes a parent’s main goal in life and it is what fulfills them the most. Perhaps sometimes things are sidetracked — like when a child tells their parent they are gay — but that does not change that parent’s desire to see their child happy.

Unfortunately, unlike Senator Portman, many socially conservative families would shun the idea that one of their children could be gay and that child is taught throughout their childhood that homosexuality is a sin, same-sex marriage is an abomination and God will punish gay people in Hell for eternity. Most likely, a closeted gay teen who grows up under that kind of dark cloud, will keep their sexual orientation a secret, afraid of exposure and ashamed of feelings they can do nothing to stop. I speak from my own experience.

Though there are still a lot of people who have a very negative attitude about allowing gay people to fulfill their dreams with the full rights of marriage, there is also a rapid and positive pace of changing attitudes and changing laws in favor of same-sex marriage. It is an exciting and fulfilling time for LGBT members at this time in history.

Many prominent Republicans are now adding their voices to the fray, by filing a “Friend of the Court” brief in an upcoming challenge later this month to California’s Proposition 8, which bans gay marriage in the state. This to me is a sure sign that even DOMA (the Defense of Marriage Act) is on its way out the door. The court will also be hearing a challenge to that federal law, and even though the court has a conservative leaning, surely even those distinguished men and women are not immune to the changing of attitudes among most Americans. Perhaps the court will see the writing on the wall, along with realizing that DOMA is unconstitutional and any other law that restricts certain minorities from equal treatment such as Proposition 8.

Americans are putting a true face on Gay people and they are coming to realize, just like Sen. Portman, that they are family too.

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