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GOP Sen. Portman supports equality

Timothy Kincaid

March 15th, 2013

I knew it had to happen at some point. Some Republican US Senator had to be the first to endorse marriage equality, but I was thinking maybe Sue Collins or Mark Kirk. I certainly wasn’t guessing Ohio’s freshman Senator, Rob Portman.

But then again I didn’t know that Portman has a gay son. (Cleveland.com)

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Republican U.S. Sen. Rob Portman on Thursday announced he has reversed his longtime opposition to same-sex marriage after reconsidering the issue because his 21-year-old son, Will, is gay.

Portman said his son, a junior at Yale University, told him and his wife, Jane, that he’s gay and “it was not a choice, it was who he is and that he had been that way since he could remember.”

“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,” Portman told reporters in an interview at his office.

This is a bit risky. Ohio Republicans are a different breed from the New Hampshire strain.

But I’m going to hazard a guess that this wont much hurt Portman. It might even help him. Times have changed and even the wing-nuts can accept a father acting out of love for his kid.

(CNN has a fuller story )

UPDATE: Sen. Portman has written an op-ed in the Columbus Dispatch expressing his views on marriage. Some I disagree with (I hope for an expansive court decision on marriage equality), but as an appeal to other conservatives and Republicans, I welcome this step. It’s far stronger to have Portman assert in his own words his support for equality than simply to tell the press.

Comments

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Andrew
March 15th, 2013 | LINK

It’s welcome, and I’m buying the reconsideration as genuine.

Do I still feel a little cranky sometimes? Would have been nice if he’d come to it as a matter of careful thought before it benefited a member of his immediate family. What, suddenly now you’re thinking about it? What were you doing before you cast all those votes against – not thinking about it? Is your son so much better than what you thought of gay people that suddenly even “good” people can be gay too? – Does all that run through my head a little? Sure.

But – based on interviews I’m seeing (and it’s nothing more than a gut check), he’d probably admit to most of that. It’s the process. It’s not pretty, but change often isn’t. The question I come to again and again is “what was the genesis for this brainwave you’re having, what are you seeking to get out of your public conversion, and why now”.

The good version here: my son, speaking out for what’s right as a sitting politician, and because it’s a hot topic.

The not-so-good version: my son, making sure I don’t look like an a-hole when he comes out of the closet or gets photographed kissing a dude, and because the election is over.

I can’t put his brain under a microscope. He comes across as sincere. I’m not cutting a check for his campaign, but unless I see other stuff that makes me think he’s an opportunistic bastard, I respect the risk he’s taking – after all, he’s in the prime of his career, and he’s going first. So, in my completely arbitrary judgment, Portman gets a pass. Don’t screw it up, Rob.

Ben in Oakland
March 15th, 2013 | LINK

I’m glad he changed, but I am not particularly impressed by it.

Before it actually affected him and his son, he was quite willing to go with the party line ofthe subject.

He has cited the sacred bond of marriage between man and woman. Did gay people stop invading that sacred bond? Did god suddenly change his mind? Or did he stick his fingers in a light socket, and his empathy gland suddenly kicked in?

Gus
March 15th, 2013 | LINK

The Teavangelical base is already raising hell in Ohio. Good thing he’s not up for re-election until 2016. At the rate we are going now, there will be a whole lot of changes by then and he might get a pass.

JohnAGJ
March 15th, 2013 | LINK

He has cited the sacred bond of marriage between man and woman. Did gay people stop invading that sacred bond? Did god suddenly change his mind? Or did he stick his fingers in a light socket, and his empathy gland suddenly kicked in?

No, it sounds like the Senator experienced what we’ve said for years has helped move gay rights forward: he discovered that he knew someone who is gay and through them saw that gay people aren’t exactly what he was taught to believe about them. Gays went from being “others” to someone he cares about. Certainly he is handling this far better than say Phyllis Schlafy or Newt Gingrich, who both have gay family members.

gsingjane
March 15th, 2013 | LINK

Okay THIS is what I am privileged to witness, on a regular basis, as a PFLAG leader. For some people, and that number is growing by leaps and bounds, it’s self-evident that GLBT people are equal and deserve dignity and civil rights. Other folks have either absorbed homophobia from different experiences they’ve had or, which is actually a lot more common than people think, they just never thought about it, certainly in a personal sense. It isn’t like people are consciously homophobic, it’s just… it never seemed like it had anything to do with them or their lives, and it was easier to just “go with the flow.”

Before you jump all over a parent for having acted like this, understand that everybody does it to some extent. Do you really get as worked up about anti-Muslim prejudice in society, or about discrimination against the disabled, if these things don’t affect you directly? What happens to a lot of parents is that there was some almost unconscious anti-gay prejudice that got instilled at some point, and one of the first steps to acceptance is acknowledging that this is so. It does no good to say, well, you never should have felt this way in the first place… people do, and in my opinion it’s a lot healthier to get those feelings out in the open and work through them, rather than to just paper them over and pretend they never existed.

Sometimes, parents do have to sit down with their gay kids and straight-up apologize. A lot of the time, when a parent did take an anti-gay stand, it’s because (in their heart of hearts) they feared that their child WAS gay, and hoped that maybe they could save them a lot of pain by influencing them to the contrary. It can help a parent to find out, no, there was nothing you could, or even should, have done to change a child’s eventual orientation. And that can also help to heal the relationship, for a child to learn that, even though a parent was misguided, their actions were taken out of love.

I do understand that, because Senator Portman was in a position of great power relative to most other people, and because he took affirmatively anti-gay steps, he is more culpable and has more to atone for. I “get it” that he’s different in some important ways from most parents of GLBT people. But I also really understand the process that he went through, and I certainly hope he can be given the chance to make things right now.

Stephen
March 15th, 2013 | LINK

Thanks, gsingjane.

jpeckjr
March 15th, 2013 | LINK

The Portman’s story has been repeated all over: once I found out someone I love is gay, my views changed.

Sen. Portman could very well have stayed quiet about his son and the change in his views. There may be some political damage — I’m guessing it will be less than people imagine — but the damage to his family had he insisted on keeping this quiet would have been far worse. He’s demonstrating genuine family values: “He’s my son and I won’t let you hurt him.” That’s what dads are supposed to do for their children, US Senator or not.

Rickles58
March 15th, 2013 | LINK

It’s now time for someone in Portman’s family to lose his/her job and health insurance, then develop a health condition that would qualify as a pre-existing condition; maybe even go bankrupt as a result. Maybe he’d change his mind on universal health insurance, unemployment insurance, etc.

I say all of this only half tongue-in-cheek, I don’t really wish this on anybody. But why can’t our representatives consider ramifications of their actions without it impacting them personally?

Jay
March 15th, 2013 | LINK

The selfishness involved in Portman’s decision is typical Republicanism–I don’t care about anything unless it affects me personally. This is a man who voted for the federal marriage amendment and every other anti-gay measure he had the opportunity to cast a vote for.

It is also telling that his son came out to him two years ago. I would not be surprised if we find out that his son will be marrying his husband in Connecticut later this year. This is probably just damage control.

Welcome to the right side of history, Portman, but please don’t expect a chapter in the next edition of “Profiles in Courage.”

Sandhorse
March 15th, 2013 | LINK

Apparently Jay believes only democratic presidents are privileged to evolve on gay issues.

But republicans are expected to spring from their mother’s womb with pride flags.

Sandhorse
March 15th, 2013 | LINK

Then again, unlike Obama, Portman doesn’t have millions in financial contributions following his ‘evolution’, nor a vice president kicking him out of his evolutionary closet.

So Portman MUST be the selfish one, obviously.

Fortunately, people like Portman are coming to our side in spite of the ‘gay mainstream’, not because of it.

markanthony
March 15th, 2013 | LINK

@gsingjane

Nicely Put.

Stephen
March 15th, 2013 | LINK

Sandhorse, president Obama didn’t actively work to harm gay Americans as did Portman. Your point would be better made, in my opinion, against Clinton.

The more important aspect is that he’s dead wrong about the Supreme Court. My marriage is legal in NY state but not Ohio. Clearly that’s a situation that can’t continue. DOMA must be struck down and only the court can do it. The senator has it backwards regarding the government’s involvement. As it stands now the federal government has inserted itself between our state government and us in a way that directly harms us. All I want is for the federal law to be either struck down or changed. As the Republican party has wandered off into fantasy the chances of any action on the federal level are nil. Therefore the court is our only recourse. I suspect that the senator’s son would agree.

Timothy Kincaid
March 15th, 2013 | LINK

What saddens me is that in the recent trend of Republicans changing their views and siding with equality, the considerable amount of abuse dumped on their heads is not coming from homophobes and anti-gay activists or even Republicans who feel betrayed by their defection on the issue so much as it is by members of our community and those already allied with us.

It isn’t making us look good or encentizing anyone else considering change.

Robert
March 15th, 2013 | LINK

Sandhorse,

I’m pretty sure Portman has millions that will either flow more or less now that his views have “changed”. You act as if Obama is the only politician who has money streamming in.

I’m pretty sure Portman will loose some of his supporters and a lot of cash for his evolving.

Your comparrison of a politician who actively campaigned and voted against the gay communitty with one who had offered tepid support but no anti-activity is clearly a wrong comparison. I would fully support a candidate who didn’t support us 100 percent over one who voted against us every single step of the way.

Portman’s change of heart is one done for personal reasons. A change of heart tha is only in regards to knowwing he’s hurtting his own kid, no concern over having hurt other people’s kids. I’m glad for the support, but like with Frum and Whitman, it rings hollow. But to be honest, I don’t care where the support comes from (well I wouldn’t accept support from SOME people) as long as their actions now support their words. If he acts positively, via a vote or some legislation, then I will believe that he’s really changed. He needs to follow through on his words with some action. I was one of those badgering the President over his former stance on LGBT rights, and I didn’t stop until his ACTIONS met his changed rhetoric.

I suspect that every new convert, especially those who actively voted against us, will have some proving to do and maybe after that it will be shown to be genuine.

Timothy Kincaid
March 15th, 2013 | LINK

Stephen,

Actually, you are mistaken about the Supreme Court. Section Two of DOMA (interstate recognition) is not before the court, only Section Three (federal recognition).

And you and the senator are in agreement that the federal government has inserted itself unduly into the process.

gsingjane
March 15th, 2013 | LINK

@@ Stephen and MarkA… thanks!!!

@ Tim… does it seem possible that one of two things are happening with the folks you reference? First – that it is always so darn easy to take an extreme or didactic position online (which I think accounts for a lot of the vitriol). Second – that there are folks who feel that they’ve been SO hurt for SO long, SO abused and misunderstood, that they have come to a place of irreconcilable bitterness?

I want to say at the outset that I am not trying to evangelize here and I sincerely don’t want to hurt or offend anyone’s feelings. The hardest thing for me, in walking the Christian walk, is to try to figure out what to do about the people who have hurt me (or hurt the people I love). Forgiveness and reconciliation are super, super hard. If you are a believing Christian, you have some guideposts or pointers on how to go about this very hard job. (I am sure that many other faith traditions have these as well.)

My hope is that reconciliation “as a value,” whether originating in religion or otherwise, is something that we can all try to take to heart. Because, the alternative is just so sad and destructive.

Robert
March 15th, 2013 | LINK

Timothy-

I think the repub;icans who have suddenly transformed, are aware that their new position would be met with scepticism. I highly doubt that they expected a rainbow parade for suddenly altering their views.

Those who campaigned against us are surely aware that their change will be met with scepticism, and were probably expecting that scepticism.

What saddens me is those who call for us to just forget all the shit thrown at us by some of these politicians because they finally came to our side. What you are witnessing is the warriness of having been burned so many times that we find it hard to trust that these people actually mean what they say. YOU seem to expect that we stop the world and throw a party for the Frum’s, Whitman’s and Portman’s of the world, after the actively sought to discriminate against us. YOU are being totally unreasonable in thinking the intentional harm done to us by these individuals could so easily be shrugged off. For me, 50 years of discrimination doesn’t get forgotten just because a few politicians are comming around. Am I glad? Yes. Am I throwwing a parade or trumpetting my undying love? NO. What I, and many others are saying is that we now need to see some real action to undo what these people have helped do. When these people go so far as to actuall do something more than amicus briefs, or public statements about their kid, then it will be welcomed.

Just as with President Obama, the words are nice, but until there is actual action to go with them, they are still words. I, personally, didn’t give the President a “pass” when he evolved, not until that evolution came with ACTION.

Actions speak louder than words, and until we see action, all it is, is words. Welcomed? Yes. Celebrated? Not yet.

Timothy Kincaid
March 15th, 2013 | LINK

Gsingjane –

I think you are right. It is terribly difficult to forgive but in one of the universe’s great ironies (and embedding in the teachings of Christ), forgiveness is something that most benefits the one who gives it.

Those against whom we hold hard feelings generally don’t even know it. But it can turn us bitter and sour and even impact our health.

Robert –

Yes, they probably do expect skepticism.

They’ve been told for years how callous and hateful and immoral the gay community is, so I doubt they’re much surprised that we are sometime less than congratulatory.

But, nevertheless, I would be happier if our community proved their former allies wrong. I wish that their experience stepping towards our community was a positive one and that they could go back and tell others who are a bit uncertain, “no, you have it wrong; gay people don’t hate us and want to destroy society; they’re good decent folk who were kind and gracious to me.”

I know it’s a bit of a dream, but I’m a dreamer.

I don’t expect any parties. And I certainly don’t expect the community to suddenly decide that we don’t need to fear or mistrust Republicans – that would be foolish.

But I wish we didn’t fling shit in the face of those who do step in our direction. For our own sake.

Robert
March 15th, 2013 | LINK

I also now notice, after looking at other LGBT sites, that Portman also says the Federal Courts should stay out of the marriage fight and it should be left to the States. Hardly a full throated support. And a way to support it while not having to actually support it for everyone. Either you believe we should all have the civil right, or you believe that civil rights are up to the states to give.

The rest of the statement:

“With the overwhelming majority of young people in support of allowing gay couples to marry, in some respects the issue has become more generational than partisan. The process of citizens persuading fellow citizens is how consensus is built and enduring change is forged. That’s why I believe change should come about through the democratic process in the states. Judicial intervention from Washington would circumvent that process as it’s moving in the direction of recognizing marriage for same-sex couples. An expansive court ruling would run the risk of deepening divisions rather than resolving them. I’ve thought a great deal about this issue, and like millions of Americans in recent years, I’ve changed my mind on the question of marriage for same-sex couples. As we strive as a nation to form a more perfect union, I believe all of our sons and daughters ought to have the same opportunity to experience the joy and stability of marriage.” – GOP Sen. Rob Portman, writing for the Columbus Dispatch.”

Timothy, why do you always leave a part of these statements out? I’m always suprised to find that there’s much much more to their views than you alude to. Glad I read other sites and the actual full comments rather than the cherry picked ones you choose to highlight. You do your readers a great disservice by always printing only half the statements. I guess the evolution isn’t quite so pretty when it shows the willingness to leave it up to states to decide if they have to honor our marriages. Shameful you only print half the story.

Timothy Kincaid
March 15th, 2013 | LINK

Robert – when I posted this commentary last night, Portman’s op-ed was not published.

So I kinda HAD to leave it out, didn’t I. I did, however, link to two articles so you could read the full comments – as published at that time – for yourself.

Robert
March 15th, 2013 | LINK

Timothy-

re your last post to me. You seem to expect LGBT people to be something other than human if you expect them not to have misgivings about some of these changes. And you expect them not to address their concerns. Most of the concerns, at least here, have been polite and sceptical. You seem to think we should throw a party or celebration. When a long time foe suddenly reverses themselves on an issue due to personal gain (Portman’s son, or Frum bemoaning that it looses republicans elesctions) rather than what it does for the actual citizenry, well that’s a little high on expectation.

We can say, as I did, that we welcome the change but will withold judgement until we see actual action on the issue. I think that’s a pretty fair reaction on our part. You, as a republican, obviously want it to be a better reflection on your party, so of course you see it a different way.

Are we glad, yes. But we can be glad of the change and wary of it at the same time. You seem to think we are not human if you think it so easy to forgive all the hatred people like these have helped heap upon us over the years. Past bad treatment is not easily forgiven, your insistence that it should be is unreasonable. IF these converts future actions support their new found views, then of course they can undo much of what they brought upon themselves. Until they show us action, all we have is words words and more words. And support for states rights and no federal recognition as in the case of Portman.

Ben in Oakland
March 15th, 2013 | LINK

To me, it just boils down to this:

If you’ve changed your mind, then show it by making some amends.

If you want my forgiveness, fine, you have it. I couldn’t be bothered to hate you before when you were a total a-hole, and I can’t now. Make some amends.

Timothy Kincaid
March 15th, 2013 | LINK

Robert, you are mistaken about what I want. As a general rule, what I want is what I say that I want, not what you are imagining.

Ben in Oakland
March 15th, 2013 | LINK

Robert wrote:

IF these converts future actions support their new found views, then of course they can undo much of what they brought upon themselves. Until they show us action, all we have is words words and more words.

That says it exactly.

Robert
March 15th, 2013 | LINK

Timothy-

You mean when you poste it this MORNING, as the date stamp on the article is today, not yesterday. And the op-ed was printed today too, although it did come out later. But in the piece you did link to it does state he believes it to be a state rights issue and the federal government should stay out of the fight. The information is in the article you posted to. But thanks for pointing out that this article was the early report before the actual op-ed.

One very positive thing, and maybe by actting on it Portman can show his true good-will, is the fact that he thinks those married in states that allow it should also get federal tax rights. THAT is a major step in the right direction. And if I see Mr. Portman moving on that, then I think he would be shoowing some action to back up his new views. If he does not act on behalf of these rights he thinks we should have, then all we have is another politician full of hot air. I hope he moves on this as he says it is a right we should have.

I think that’s what people are waiting for. They can say Good for him, now let’s see some action.

And I don’t think it’s throwwing shit in their faces to expect MORE than just a bunch of pretty words. When it comes to any politician it’s the actions that matter, and so far all we see from these new converts is words words and more words. Yes, they have to start somewhere, but don’t expect a celebration until they put some action in the game.

You seem to think every republican who changes their mind is shot down by the LGBT community, and that’s not true. The Republicans in CO got a lot of support when they actually changed their minds AND VOTES to affect change. In essence, when these people put their words to action, they get our support, and until they do, I’m not sure words are enough to merit that support.

Priya Lynn
March 15th, 2013 | LINK

Timothy said “But I wish we didn’t fling shit in the face of those who do step in our direction. For our own sake.”.

I couldn’t agree more.

I see its time again for LGBT democrats to greet a Republican doing the right thing with the volleys of “Yeah, but he was a terrible person up until now and probably still is.”.

You don’t mitigate a three paragraph diatribe against such people with a lame “but I’m glad he did it”.

There’s a middle ground between throwing these people a party and taking a move in our direction as an obligation to berate them. No one is asking you to throw them a party.

Robert
March 15th, 2013 | LINK

Timothy, if I am confusing what you want, it’s because you haven’t stated it. The closest you have gotten to what you want is this feeble statement:

“Timothy Kincaid
March 15th, 2013 | LINK
What saddens me is that in the recent trend of Republicans changing their views and siding with equality, the considerable amount of abuse dumped on their heads is not coming from homophobes and anti-gay activists or even Republicans who feel betrayed by their defection on the issue so much as it is by members of our community and those already allied with us.

It isn’t making us look good or encentizing anyone else considering change.”

And all that says is you think they are getting dumped on and deserve better. You expect us to open our arms and give em an embrace, and that is unreasonable, by any standard. A sudden change in view is always met with scepticism, as it should be until actions warrant an embrace by our community.

or there’s this, which does infer that you think we should make it easy on them for comming around:

“Timothy Kincaid
March 15th, 2013 | LINK

…But, nevertheless, I would be happier if our community proved their former allies wrong. I wish that their experience stepping towards our community was a positive one and that they could go back and tell others who are a bit uncertain, “no, you have it wrong; gay people don’t hate us and want to destroy society; they’re good decent folk who were kind and gracious to me.”

I know it’s a bit of a dream, but I’m a dreamer.

I don’t expect any parties. And I certainly don’t expect the community to suddenly decide that we don’t need to fear or mistrust Republicans – that would be foolish.

But I wish we didn’t fling shit in the face of those who do step in our direction. For our own sake.”

And that really DOES sound like you want a party. They were kind and gracious to me, please, you want a big fat wet kiss to be given anytime a person evolves in words without actions.

gar
March 15th, 2013 | LINK

Sen. Portman passed the test. He was confronted with a gay relative, his own son, and rather than reject his son, he accepted his son. Better still, he accepted his son’s personhood by embracing marriage equality.

So, he passed the test, and should be acknowledged and commended for doing so.

Priya Lynn
March 15th, 2013 | LINK

If you don’t have anything good to say then don’t say anything at all – no party required.

Sandhorse
March 15th, 2013 | LINK

Extending a hand of welcome and an acknowledgment of appreciation requires us to neither close our eyes nor hold our nose.

If it turns out something looks wrong or smells rotten we can act accordingly.

Ben in Oakland
March 15th, 2013 | LINK

You want an interesting set of comments, go the the actual op-Ed and read the comments there.

You think WE’RE angry about Portman changing his mind? The response of those so-called Christians that are trying to devour him give you an idea of the depth of religious fervor and out and out hate that they are directing towards him.

If it pisses so many of them off this much, my forgiveness gland is becoming more active.

customartist
March 15th, 2013 | LINK

This is Political Expedience and NOTHING else.

To say that one “supports” something, but then being unwilling to actually Advocate for or to Legilate for it is a hollow statement,…and especially when one is specifically elected to actually DO things.

Republicans ride the fence.

Obama was courageous when he did not know how the public would see it.

Robert
March 15th, 2013 | LINK

Priya Lynn-

There is a difference between throwwing shit at someone and voicing concerns for the motivation and questioning wether it’s real support.

Let’s look at Romney as an example. And a perfect one I might add. When he ran for Senate against Ted Kennedy he came out in support for gay Rights. So far out that he claimed he’d be better than Kennedy. What happened to that support? It went away when it was politically expedient. Sudden shifts in views are and should be met with scepticism.

Or let’s even look at Obama. For us, then against us, then for us and finally some action that cemented the for us view. It is not too much to expect some doubts and to see those doubts expressed.

Some seem to think we should just forget all the previous injury. i don’t. I say we should expect some action to undo that previous injury. Otherwise the support is useless. I hope to see Portman move on this issue, and if he doesn’t then it’s just talk. And talk is cheap. It isn’t, to me, about his being a republican, it’s about undoing the damage he helped create. And to call for that is not throwwing shit in someone’s face. It’s saying, glad you came around but you have some work to do to make it right. That should be expected, and it shouldn’t be a suprise.

Sandhorse
March 15th, 2013 | LINK

“Obama was courageous when he did not know how the public would see it.”

Cow pie!

Priya Lynn
March 15th, 2013 | LINK

“There is a difference between throwwing shit at someone and voicing concerns for the motivation and questioning wether it’s real support.”.

Whether its “shit” or “concerns” depends very much whether you’re on the receiving end of it or not. We know the downside to “voicing concerns”, other opponents of marriage equality will see those who’ve changed sides being crapped on anyway and they may decide there’s no point in changing positions since they’ll just be abused for doing so anyway. As to the upside of “voicing concerns” – I’m not seeing one beyond allowing the voicer to enjoy a sense of revenge at the expense of the LGBT community.

Richard Rush
March 15th, 2013 | LINK

When public figures (such as Portman) change their stated views, I’m not necessarily thankful to them, but I’m always thankful to the totality of the gay-rights movement which has been persuasive and/or has created a social climate whereby stridently anti-gay people are becoming increasingly marginalized. And in the wake of our victories in four states last November, even Republicans are beginning to feel the pressure.

But if all Republicans suddenly changed their stated views on gays, I cannot imagine voting for one in my remaining lifetime because I strongly disagree with their positions on a multitude of other issues.

Priya Lynn
March 15th, 2013 | LINK

“Cow pie!”.

No, not cow pie. Obama did take a chance by expressing support for marriage equality prior to the election. It was uncertain at the time whether or not that would cost him votes and the election and certainly many anti-gay conservatives such as NOM thought that would cost him the election. Obama was courageous, there’s no (honestly) denying that.

Gene in L.A.
March 15th, 2013 | LINK

Lots of hand-wringing and quibbling here. Frankly, as long as it’s followed by concrete action, I don’t care at all WHY the man changed his mind, or that he didn’t change it earlier based on some larger appreciation of equality for all. It’s been an article of faith for decades among activists for gay equality that if more of us came out to our loved ones, more of the folks who think they have reasons to oppose equality would see the error of their way. This has apparently now happened with Senator Portman. It’s a good thing, and as with the President, whether it took him longer than I would have liked is now irrelevant.

Robert
March 15th, 2013 | LINK

Priya Lynn-
If anyone clings to a position they no longer hold because they are afraid of the pssibility that some may still have concerns then they obviously haven’t changed their views. I think it’s ridiculous to think that people shouldn’t express their concerns because some might think they are throwing shit at people.

What you are suggsting is a mode od silencing the discussion. Portmans stand isn’t very courageous since he also says he won’t take a lead on the issue because he doesn’t want to impose his view on anyone. What good does it do us if one comes out but says they won’t act on it? Not much. That type of support is almopst useless. This politician came out and says he supports us, but he won’t take aqction to actually support us because he doesn’t want to impose his view on others. Well, he didn’t mind impossing his view on US when he held anti-gay beleifs. But now, when he changes his views he also changes his political actions to nothing.

You migh be satisfied with vocal support that also comes with no political action. You seem to be satisfied with a whole lot of nothing.

from the Clevland.com site :

“If Ohio voters were to reconsider the gay marriage ban they adopted in 2004, Portman said he might support it, depending on its wording, though he would not be likely to take a leadership role on the issue just as he didn’t take a leadership role in 2004. He stressed that he doesn’t want to force his views on others, and that religious institutions shouldn’t be forced to perform weddings or recognize marriages they don’t condone.”

Yeah, that’s support now isn’t it.

Sandhorse
March 15th, 2013 | LINK

Robert,

I appreciate what you’re saying and I’m not even saying that I would disagree with you. Unfortunately, from the comments, what is being offered to Mr. Portman is not a cautiously extended “Thank you’, but more of a Vader ‘I find your sudden move of support disturbing’ (to put it lightly)

“This is Political Expedience and NOTHING else.”

“Republicans ride the fence.”

“The selfishness involved in Portman’s decision is typical Republicanism”

“…don’t expect a chapter in the next edition of “Profiles in Courage.”

ScooterJ
March 15th, 2013 | LINK

YES, it is support. . . Significant support and I applaud it. It is not full support yet, perhaps that will come when the Senator becomes a grandfather to his gay son’s child, but for many people, especially those with religious biases, the path to acceptance is long and winding. To simply dismiss this is to ignore the human condition.

I am celebrating that we have another important and influential weapon in our arsenal. I am celebrating that unlike countless fathers in this country, this Senator is unconditionally loving his son, at great professional risk, rather than disowning him. I celebrate all of the victories, wherever they come, regardless of how big or small.

Timothy Kincaid
March 15th, 2013 | LINK

“You mean when you poste it this MORNING, as the date stamp on the article is today, not yesterday.”

Though I cannot fathom why it would matter to you, I posted this commentary at 11:33 PM California time. BTB’s date stamp runs on East Coast time.

And, as I have said before, what I want is what I say that I want, not what you imagine my words to mean.

Robert
March 15th, 2013 | LINK

Sandhorse,

I feel that it is a political expedient position. It is notred in other articles (not the one linked to that I saw) that his son told him in 2011 and he is only now saying something about this change of heart. He didn’t share his view when he was being considered for VP for Romney, he waited until after he was passed over and after the election for President. He then claims he’s not doing this for political reasons. I find it hard to graciously accept support from one who also turns around and says he won’t take a lead on this newly deep felt view. It smacks of all the other sudden revisions we see after the republicans lost the election. Sometimes the timing of such events makes it difficult to accept the change.

Also, the adamancy in which he says he won’t lead as he doesn’t want to push his view on others is slightly infuriatting as he had no problem forcing his view on others when he held a less favorable view.

If people want him to be cheered for a “courageous” view, then he needs to actually show some courage. One can SAY they support something, but if they do nothing to actually, you know, SUPPORT it, then what good is their support?

I think that is a legitimate question to be put to all those who have sudden reversals on any issue.

I questioned the President’s comittment to our community when it was just words, and I will do the same with others. For me this isn’t about political affiliation, it’s about taking ACTION and not just saying the right thing. tes, it took Obama some time to move, and during that time I was a frequent critic of his lack of action. He asked his supporters to hold his feet to the fire on their issues, so I did.

Why people think we shouldn’t do the same with our political rivals is beyond me. For some reason it’s okay to be harder on the politicians in my party thatn it is to be hard on those in a rival party.

He can say all he wants to say, but until words are put into action, all we have is talk talk. (and all his talk says is he’s not going to lead on it, at all.)

Others need to note that when differnt republicans came around they have been supported by our community and even applauded. Case in point is the republican leader in Colorado who sttod and took ACTION after he gave his pretty speeches. He acted, he didn’t just talk. Portman has already stated HE won’t be the one to lead or act on this. Not ALL change of hearters get the slap down, just the ones who seem to be cowardly about action.

Sandhorse
March 15th, 2013 | LINK

Sorry Priya,

I have to stick with my Cow Pie assessment.

Obama’s prior support for SSM was on record. (and a republican rebuttal to democratic observations of Romney’s flip flopping I might add)

It was the elephant in the room with a ‘Yes we can’ sticker on it, when Obama finally claimed it, was anyone really surprised?

But let’s say for a moment Obama’s future was uncertain post his ‘coming out’, is Portman’s future any less uncertain now.

How does Obama’s move towards support translate to courageous, and Portman’s does not?

The more progressive among us believe that the republicans hate us. If that’s true, or even if we just believe that’s true, then we MUST also acknowledge that these republicans are risking the hate of there own party in moving to support us.

And I think that at least deserves a genuine, ‘thank you’.

Rickles58
March 15th, 2013 | LINK

Tim,
Perhaps we’d have been more embracing, and less skeptical, of Portman’s change of heart if he’d announced his sponsorship of legislation to repeal DOMA. Until he does something to prove he now supports us, it’s just convenient words. Nice words, but still just words.

In other words, what Robert said but with less animus.

Robert
March 15th, 2013 | LINK

Timothy,

I was going off the time stamp on the actual article. Which is dated this morning at a bit after midnight, with an update about 9 minutes later. As far as I can see there is no time stamp on BTB. Yes, you got it on California time, I was just pointing out that both the op-ed and the article you posted have the same date. It just seemdd improbable that you could be posting an article before it was published, and I am a bit pendantic with factual matters.

Is that really the biggest issue you have with what I posted? Then that’s good.

Sandhorse
March 15th, 2013 | LINK

Robert said:

“If people want him to be cheered for a “courageous” view, then he needs to actually show some courage. One can SAY they support something, but if they do nothing to actually, you know, SUPPORT it, then what good is their support?”

So after Obama came to ‘SAY” he supported SSM, what did he then do prior to his reelection to ‘SUPPORT’ SSM specifically?

Robert
March 15th, 2013 | LINK

Sandhorse-

It’s still a cow-pie.

you ask:

But let’s say for a moment Obama’s future was uncertain post his ‘coming out’, is Portman’s future any less uncertain now.

How does Obama’s move towards support translate to courageous, and Portman’s does not?

And I think I pointed out the reason to that in my last post to you. OBAMA TOOK ACTION. Portman has stated he will do no such thing.

Now, do you really question the difference? One took direct action on their words, one has stated that he will NOT lead on the issue and is even unsure if he would fully support the legislation in Ohio if it came up. It would depend on who we kow tow to.

Honesty requires one to discern between actions and words. One can’t claim a person who says they will not act on their beliefs is the same as one who DID act on their beliefs. When Obama came around fully he acted. When Portman came around, he declares he’ll leave it to others and won’t take action.

Be honest.

Timothy Kincaid
March 15th, 2013 | LINK

Rickles,

I don’t think sponsorship would have mattered much. I don’t think much of anything would.

I suppose that writing an op-ed piece is “just words”. As, I guess, an amicus brief before the Supreme Court is “just words”.

But while “I support traditional marriage” and “I support marriage equality” are both just words, I much prefer the latter.

Sandhorse
March 15th, 2013 | LINK

BTW Robert, Tim wasn’t responding to a ‘post’, he was responding to an accusation.

Timothy Kincaid
March 15th, 2013 | LINK

I think both Obama and Portman were brave in stating support on marriage. Obama could not know that it wouldn’t cost him an election and Portman does not know whether it will cost him his party’s nomination in the primary.

Both probably weighed the possibilities, but I think that both were genuine in their statements of support. And truly, a public statement of support from a politician who puts their credibility and career on the line for a position IS taking action.

When Obama released a statement, it was an action. One, incidentally, which had very strong consequences across the globe. While Portman’s op-ed will have less impact, it is no less an act.

Robert
March 15th, 2013 | LINK

Sandhorse-

Do you really think the Doma case came about without Presidential action? And public statements by a President prior to an election are in fact consequential activities. His statements moved the African American community to more inclussion and acceptance, and has moved our cause forward, and his actions since re-election have been grand. I think you give him too little credit. You also forget the repeal of DADT, granting of some rights to federal employees and their spouses is also of great importance. I think there is more than just Marriage Equality to consider in these things. It is only one aspect of the fight for Equal Rights, not the only goal.

MattNYC
March 15th, 2013 | LINK

I haven’t read all of the comments, but I’ve been listening to radio discussion of this all day and giving it some thought.

I’ve said this before in several posts, that support is always good.

But what really bothers me–what this really exposes–is the striking inability of (former) opponents to feel a SHRED of empathy (beyond spouting meaningless platitudes). Until it hits HOME, they could not give a damn about anyone else. This means to close friends who are gay or who have gay children that they are made of sh*t and “I tolerate your/their existence, so be happy.” Who here believes he would have said a peep were his own son not gay??

This just reinforces the pure, Randian selfishness of those on the right. I’ll get mine and SCREW anyone else. The Paul Ryans and Clarence Thomases who gladly pull up the ladder behind them and pretend to have done everything for themselves–”self-made” my ass. The Mark Kirks who had no problem ignoring or voting against access to health care until HE faced a debilitating illness and saw the startling number of digits on the medical bills that were stamped “paid by insurance.”

The don’t do ANYTHING out of the “goodness” (HAH!) of their hearts. They do it for their own self-interest and even political expediency. You can BET that Portman wouldn’t have said anything if he had to run in 2014.

This is why I will thank for their support people like Portman, Mehlman, the Cheneys, and still tell them that they can go f*ck themselves. They did nothing for us when they had a chance and in fact worked strongly against us or used us as pawns in their Machiavellian games.

At the very least, Portman is still in office and now has a chance to put his money (well, the tons poured in by lobbyists, at least) where his mouth is. He can spout his “state’s right” B.S. as much as he wants as long as he votes to repeal DOMA and let Full Faith & Credit send state-level laws into oblivion.

(sigh)

That felt good…

MattNYC
March 15th, 2013 | LINK

P.S. Obama never actively voted against us. He resisted change–even though it probably went against his conscience. I don’t put him on a pedestal. But neither do I deride him on LGBT issues. He has always been our friend or at least an acquaintance–never an enemy.

Rickles58
March 15th, 2013 | LINK

Per the original article:

“If Ohio voters were to reconsider the gay marriage ban they adopted in 2004, Portman said he might support it, depending on its wording, though he would not be likely to take a leadership role on the issue just as he didn’t take a leadership role in 2004. He stressed that he doesn’t want to force his views on others, and that religious institutions shouldn’t be forced to perform weddings or recognize marriages they don’t condone.”

This says it all: He was okay forcing his opinion on us to deny us marriage rights, but he’s not okay forcing it on the Religious Right ™ because it wouldn’t be right. What’s the difference?

Also, there has never been any suggestion that religious institutions would/should be forced to perform marriages. This is a complete non-sequitor.

MattNYC
March 15th, 2013 | LINK

P.P.S. I was going to send an e-mail to Jim the other day asking him about adding a time stamp to the articles/posts (if possible). It’s very helpful in active threads like this.

Sandhorse
March 15th, 2013 | LINK

Robert,

“And public statements by a President prior to an election are in fact consequential activities”.

And maybe even public statements by a Republican Senator are in fact consequential activities.

And believe it or not, I am grateful for Obama’s active support he has recently provided. But it can’t be denied that all Obama had to do to get the gay community at large to genuflect in euphoric adoration was open his mouth.

Robert
March 15th, 2013 | LINK

Sandhorse and Timothy,

There was no accusation in noting that the articles in refrence were both printed today. And there were supportive statement in that post, thus my remark.

Timothy.

Seriously? Do you not know the meaning of ACTION in political discourse? Writing an op-ed and publishing somethin is not an ACTIOn in the sense that it does not legislatively do ANYTHING. Words are words until they are put into some action of support. Portman has stated that he will not lead and may not even support legislation in Ohio, depending on it’s wording and “out” it give religious organizations. He still thinks some people should be allowed to discriminate against my marriage.

Yes, sitting down and writing is an activity, but it is NOT ACTION as idnetified in political circles. Action means something is taking place in the form of legislation or proposed legislation.

You are smart enough to know that.

Also, when you don’t say clearly what you “want” then don’t get upset when people have to try to disect and fugure out as best they can what you are saying. You do leave yourself enough ambiguity in some of your replies that it is NOT unreasonable for me to be readin what you say in the way I see it being presented. That’s your writing, not my issue.

How, exactly, Timothy do you want people to respond? Do you want people to put all reason aside and just go “Yipee”, or do you want people to acknowledge the action and discuss what it means to them, how they see it, and even criticize the lack of leadership it shows? When and IF Portman acts on his new beliefs, then I will celebrate, and so will others who doubt his intent now.

You and others can not expect people to all of a sudden embrace and celebrate a new found opinion after so much actual anti-gay actions in his voting record. Until work is done to UNDO those actions, it’s still just words. And Portman has stated he has no intention to lead on the issue.

It requires time and proof of statement to have people let this go. ONLY time will make it better, and only if he actually does something to help.

Pointing out the work that people like Portman, Mehlman, Frum and others have to do to make up for their past actions isn’t being negative, it’s saying good, now do something to fix what you helped create.

Sandhorse
March 15th, 2013 | LINK

MattNYC, (and everyone else for that matter)

I’m not deriding Obama on LGBT issues. No one can deny his support for us, (that’s half my point anyway)

I am just trying to prevent the anti-gay republicans from being right.

Sandhorse
March 15th, 2013 | LINK

“And public statements (i.e. words) by a President prior to an election are in fact consequential activities”.

“Words are words until they are put into some action of support.”

Which is it Robert, you can’t have it both ways.

Robert
March 15th, 2013 | LINK

Sandhorse-

Re;Republican Senator public statements vs Presidnet statement during election.

Making a statemnt during the Actual election process is far more risky than a statement by someone who has three years before re-election, and in a time where the Supreme COurt will decide the fate of the issue, and by the time Portman face re-election it might be moote.

And what exactly are you hoping to prevent? The anti-gay republicans being right about WHAT? They already think us worthless what are you afraid this will “prove”? Unqualified support doesn’t come from a first public announcement, it comes later, when you prove you mean your public announcement.

These issues and the discussions of the pros and cons of how and when to accept these changes in belief is a good thing for our Community. I’d rather be discussing how do we deal with the haters when they come around than be dealing with what to do about the supporters who drop us like a hot potatoe. Thanks for the discussion.

Robert
March 15th, 2013 | LINK

Sandhorse-

President Obama’s political statements were in conjunction with actual actions. Not defending DOMA, repeal of DADT, Federal Workers LGBT Rights, and a variety of other supportive measures taken for our community, those actions and his statments come hand in hand. We didn’t get just statements, we got action as well. That IS a difference worth noting. WORDS AND ACTION, not just words. And you know that statements DURING an electoral process are more dangerous to the candidate than statements made three years earlier. Even NOM thought Obama had done himself in with those statements when combined with his actions.

Timothy Kincaid
March 15th, 2013 | LINK

Robert -

“Yes, sitting down and writing is an activity, but it is NOT ACTION as idnetified in political circles. Action means something is taking place in the form of legislation or proposed legislation.”

As seems often the case, we disagree.

Sandhorse
March 15th, 2013 | LINK

Robert said,

“Sandhorse and Timothy,

There was no accusation in noting that the articles in reference were both printed today. And there were supportive statement in that post, thus my remark.”

ahhh…yea right…

Robert, Tim told you when he posted the letter (the previous night).

Believing you had an ‘aha!’ moment in your hands you accused him of lying by point out the timestamp. (or were you just accusing him of senility? (sorry tim)

Robert, anyone can see you have a hard on for Timothy and not the good kind. (sorry again Tim) I suppose that’s fine and dandy but could you not make it so embarrassingly obvious?

Gene in L.A.
March 15th, 2013 | LINK

To assume hatred from everyone who opposes gay marriage is counterproductive. If what is motivating them is in fact hatred, they are unlikely to “come around.” Let’s stop calling them names, which only alienates people, and start discussing with them; and let’s give credit where it’s due. Some of you people sound as if you begrudge them the privilege of changing their minds unless they do it your way.

Timothy Kincaid
March 15th, 2013 | LINK

Also, when you don’t say clearly what you “want” then don’t get upset when people have to try to disect and fugure out as best they can what you are saying. You do leave yourself enough ambiguity in some of your replies that it is NOT unreasonable for me to be readin what you say in the way I see it being presented. That’s your writing, not my issue.

Okay, to make this clearer for you:

I wish that their experience stepping towards our community was a positive one and that they could go back and tell others who are a bit uncertain, “no, you have it wrong; gay people don’t hate us and want to destroy society; they’re good decent folk who were kind and gracious to me.”

I know it’s a bit of a dream, but I’m a dreamer.

I don’t expect any parties. And I certainly don’t expect the community to suddenly decide that we don’t need to fear or mistrust Republicans – that would be foolish.

But I wish we didn’t fling shit in the face of those who do step in our direction. For our own sake.

I don’t see a lot of ambiguity. But if you think that saying “I don’t expect any parties” really means “I expect parties”, then I just don’t think that we are going to ever be able to communicate.

Sandhorse
March 15th, 2013 | LINK

As far as what I am trying to prevent:

The present conversation within republican circles is that they should move to supporting SSM etc. The opposing voices are saying that they will NOT receive a welcome by the gay community anyway so don’t bother. ‘Stick with us.’

I wanna say they are wrong, but I can’t see that happening.

Rickles58
March 15th, 2013 | LINK

Timothy,
I’m afraid that Robert still has a point. You say lots of things that you DON’T want, but only that you want a positive experience. How would you have us provide this positive experience? What DO you want us to do?

MattNYC
March 15th, 2013 | LINK

Gene, I was just about to agree with you and then reminded myself of MLK’s words, “The hottest place in Hell is reserved for those who remain neutral in times of great moral conflict.”

Gene in L.A.
March 15th, 2013 | LINK

Matt, I didn’t say or indicate anyone should remain neutral. Neutral won’t win us anything. Please don’t ascribe to me attitudes I don’t express.

Sandhorse
March 15th, 2013 | LINK

Timothy said,

“I don’t see a lot of ambiguity. But if you think that saying “I don’t expect any parties” really means “I expect parties”, then I just don’t think that we are going to ever be able to communicate.”

I’m begining to think it’s just a matter of perspective.

One group is debating whether to offer a genuine ‘thank you’ or a party.

The other group is deciding whether to offer an accusing stare or an execution pyre.

There is no common ground between groups.

Robert
March 15th, 2013 | LINK

Sandhorse,

No, I pointed out the time stamp BECUSE Timothy said it was put up last night but when I was reading the article and the Op-ed (which was the reason the timing of this article was mentioned) It clearly stated that the article was posted today. I was confused about how that could be. The article itslef has a time stamp, this site does not. Believe what you wish. When I throw shade I will admit to it.

And, No, I have no hard on for Timothy. I actually enjoy reading his articles, and I comment on his more than others because his is where I find most of the stuff that challenges me as a Liberal and as a person.

I also challenge Timothy more than others because I often believe he makes good points but is sometimes sloppy in some of his work and it detracts from the point he’s making. I point it out. Many times some good conversations come from it (and my comments even prompted a whole new article by Timothy-granted it was only once, but it was once), and I often learn more in my challenging him than I would on responding to articles I agree with 90 to 100 percent. In fact my first comment on this site was in defense of Timothy in a post about the language we use against our detractors.

Jim and Rob and the more liberal leaning people on this site do not challenge my views, they share many of them, and as such comments to them are preaching to the choir.

Timothy challenges my beliefs. He makes me think more about WHY I believe the things I do, and these discussions are very informative for me, and I think others who don’t say much might get something out of them as well.

My parents taught me to challenge myself and challenge others on their views. I try to do that. I may not suceede all the time, but that’s my intent.

If my views or participation here are unwanted, then feel free to tell me to fuck off. But snide remarks won’t chase me off, they only get snide remarks in return.

And maybe I wouldn’t be so dogged if every once in a while Timothy would actually respond to the questions asked of him in clear words that don’t take a critical thinking course to dissect them.

Also, Sandhorse, it Timothy doesn’t want me to comment, he holds the keys and can block my posts. I may be an annoyance, but that’s in the eye of the annoyed. We ALL fit that description at one point or another, including you.

MattNYC
March 15th, 2013 | LINK

Sandhorse,

I believe in forgiveness and welcome a change of heart. But it’s truly hard (not impossible) to forgive people whose hearts and minds haven’t changed–only their political calculations. I expect an apology at the very least. Not just a knock on the door saying, “I’m here, now,” but, “I’m here. I know I did a lot of harm before and see how that impacted real people. What can I do to help?”

Even a little contrition goes a long way.

Obama actually did apologize for taking so long to publicly support M.E. Chuck Hagel apologized to Ambassador Hormel. Sen. Robert Byrd apologized for his Klan membership (and backed that up with actions). Maybe I missed Ken Mehlman’s apology for his despicable collaboration with anti-gay forces.

Rickles58
March 15th, 2013 | LINK

Sandhorse,
I thought I said it earlier but, upon looking back, find that I didn’t. So, here it is:

Congratulations Sen Portman on your evolution of thought. I’m glad to have your words of support. Congratulations to your son on the strength it must have taken to come out given his environment. Now, in light of your stated support, please reconsider your intent to do nothing to show us that you really mean it.

Robert
March 15th, 2013 | LINK

Timothy-

You still don’t explain what you WANT. You want them to walk away feeling like we were gracious and accepting. This certainly seems like you want it to be all roses and clover with no discussion of the negatives that were done to us by these changed individuals. You act as if discussing the past problems and what we feel these people need to do to SHOW their actual support is action on the isues, an undoing of what they did. Unless these people are willing to work to undo their damage, then they are not supporters.

HOW do you want people to respond? Cmon. you are smarter than the argument you are presenting. How do you propose we accept these changes yet demand accountability and an attempt at reversal of damages without discussing it?

You say you don’t want a party or a parade, okay. I’ll accept that.

But your sort of demanding that we not talk about the shit done to us because now these people don’t believe3 the way they did yesterday. You expect are more from us than you do from the republican party. Somehow we don’t get to be human and discuss where he was, where he IS, and where he needs to go. You certainly would challenge Barney Frank if he had a huge reversal in some issue you dislike him for. You would DEMAND action from him and not just rhetoric in a paper.

I ask that you expect no more from us than you would the republican party when it comes to forgiveness and positve experiences.

I don’t neccesarily agree that they deserve a fully positive experience. They should get what they deserve, a thanks, and a “You have work to do to fix what you did”.

You only seem to want that for republicans, YOU certainly don’t cut anyone you disagree with any slack, but expect it IMMEDIATELY for those you applaud.

Sandhorse
March 15th, 2013 | LINK

I give a thumbs up to Rickles last response.

It gives a gracious acknowledgemt for steping foward, but graciously asks for more steps to be taken.

Sandhorse
March 15th, 2013 | LINK

MattNYC,

You’re correct that an apology should be given. But, from a personal standpoint, I never ‘expect’ an apology. I don’t, mostly because an ‘expected’ apology rarely is one, and moreover, I could be waiting in expectation for all eternity.

Should an apology be given? Absolutely! It provides for the healing of both parties.

Should we reject an olive branch because an apology is not attached? I guess we could run in circles debating it. But the only thing certain is that a rejection will keep everyone where they are.

( OTR – Suggested viewing: ‘Forgiving Dr. Mengele’ paying particular attention to the observable well being, or lack thereof, of those who choose not to forgive and the one that does.)

Timothy Kincaid
March 15th, 2013 | LINK

Robert,

“And maybe I wouldn’t be so dogged if every once in a while Timothy would actually respond to the questions asked of him in clear words that don’t take a critical thinking course to dissect them.”

I can appreciate that. Unfortunately, I often can’t respond that way.

In this instance, for example, I don’t have an exact formula for how to respond to Portman. I think the wisest approach is to say, “thank you, Sen. Portman, and I look forward to working with you in the future to advance the equality of your son and me.”

But that may be further than some people can go.

So all I ask is that we be gracious and kind. I ask it of Republicans, I ask it of Conservative Christians, I ask it of us.

It’s not too much to ask, if we want it in return.

Gene in L.A.
March 15th, 2013 | LINK

Does any of them not know there’s more to do? Will an apology undo any of the damage you hold against them? I say to hell with apologies; we see too often how easily they slip from bigots’ mouths. If someone changes their mind, I repeat that I don’t care the reason, and I don’t give a damn about apologies. If we don’t leave the past in the past it’ll fester forever. I applaud Senator Portman for taking a public stand; that is not “just words”. His next step, minus becoming a “leader”, will be to vote. Until then I take him at his word, as I want everyone to take me at mine. Is there a single person here who doesn’t want Portman to change his mind?

Sandhorse
March 15th, 2013 | LINK

Gene,

I concur with your approach.

I’m not sure what the difficulty is…

MattNYC
March 15th, 2013 | LINK

Maybe the first sit-down he needs to have is with Ken Mehlman–their lives are far more intertwined now than even before (vis-a-vis Bush-Cheney Ohio 2004). Maybe redemption is a shared journey…

Sandhorse
March 15th, 2013 | LINK

MattNYC said:

“Maybe redemption is a shared journey…”

Interesting statement in that context; willing to elaborate?

MattNYC
March 15th, 2013 | LINK

Sandhorse,

Will look up the film. If one consumes himself with vengeance/anger it gives power to the evil-doer.

There is a middle ground.

I don’t stay up nights thinking of Ken Mehlman. In fact, until this thread, I honestly haven’t thought of him since the last time his name came up (the amicus letter from the GOP has-beens). I don’t give him or Portman the time of day otherwise. I can welcome their support without ever wanting to be in the same room with them.

Not saying that I don’t have age-old grudges rolling around in the back of my mind–I AM human–but I don’t let them rule me.

The fact that I have a slight belief–if I truly believe in anything non-rational–in karma also helps. :)

MattNYC
March 15th, 2013 | LINK

SH,

Mehlman has his own path to atonement to himself and to earn my thanks/forgiveness. I don’t underestimate the impact he can have on moving the GOP (nor do I overestimate it). But abetting evil (anti-gay laws/amendments, stealing the vote/Presidential vote outcome from citizens) for so many years is not absolved by his post-political career fundraising for and promoting of M.E.

I think the confluence of events in Ohio in 2004 ties them together in a way that they can both work — together — to reverse some of that damage.

MattNYC
March 15th, 2013 | LINK

All that said, I occasionally do have day dreams about what I would say to Henry Kissinger’s face if ever given the chance :p

OK–I MUST get back to work. Will check in later or tomorrow. :)

KZ
March 15th, 2013 | LINK

Think what you want of Senator Portman.

However, he choose to publicly come out for marriage equality. I haven’t heard Regina Griggs, Phyllis Schafly, or Randall Terry endorsing same-sex marriage. And the three of these people each have(‘had’ in Terry’s case) a gay child.

Robert
March 15th, 2013 | LINK

Timothy-

I do hope you understqnd that I honestly do challenge you more than others because YOU challenge ME more than others. And that’s why I almost always have something to say on your posts.

Your last post to me gave a clearer answer than the others, that’s all I look for, clarity. Because otherwise it’s almost impossible to know what you honestly think. I answer you as your writing appears to me. I answer what I think you are saying, and if it isn’t 100 percent clear, like all writing, it leaves a lot to the reader to try to discern.

Maybe you will understand better, now, why I comment more to you than the others, and why I seem harsh. I feel the right, yes, right, to criticize your writings and opinions as they themselves are often critical of my beliefs, so challenge meets challenge and (at least for me) I get a better understanding of the “conservative” view point. We do share commonalities and our views do intersect once in a while.

And it might seem to some that I am impolitic in my delivery, but as a person with aspergers syndrome, I sometimes don’t see what others see in my writing or my speech. It’s who I am. I am not trying to beat you down nor do I have a hard on for you as sandhorse seems to think. I write what I think, and sometimes that might not sit well for others. Unfortunately I can’t control how others percieve me or how I percieve them.

But now you know Ienjoy reading you. But don’t expect me to change, it’s not something I really can do. I can try to be “friendlier” in tone, but I’m not quite sure what that means.

And by the way, I’m still waiting on that Frum piece you promised. Maybe you could write about all of these people in one big post, the issue seems to be the same from new conservative convert to new conservative convert. People seem to want us to move on without being able to process the issues sudden change.

Having an “enemy” suddenly become a “friend” on an issue isn’t easy and requires the same gnashing of teeth and excising of grief like a death does. I often think many don’t give the process of comming around much thought. But like Portman’s seeing of the light, it takes time. No one can expect us to forgive and accept in a moments notice such a drastic change. It, like grief, must be worked through.

Timothy Kincaid
March 15th, 2013 | LINK

Robert,

Thanks for your latest comment. I do appreciate the clarification of your intent.

I too am wanting to get the piece written. It is half there in draft form and I want to get it complete – but I also don’t want to do it half-assed or without my full concentration.

Oddly enough “Having an “enemy” suddenly become a “friend” on an issue isn’t easy and requires the same gnashing of teeth and excising of grief like a death does.” is a good summation of what I want to say in the piece.

Marcus
March 15th, 2013 | LINK

Plenty of veteran Democrats used to vote/preach anti-gay, too. IIRC, there were only 1-2 members of Congress who supported marriage equality a decade ago.

MattNYC
March 15th, 2013 | LINK

Marcus, alas, Paul Wellstone voted FOR DOMA. So did Rep. Chuck Schumer. I remember my depression back then.

All of the progressives voting “yea” made serious apologies and worked hard to undo/mitigate the harm.

I refused to donate to many I had previously until I felt they had earned back my trust.

I don’t limit my displeasure to party nor my forgiveness (or lack thereof)–there were many Blue Dogs for whom I gave what I could to their primary challengers.

That was actually the moment when I stopped giving any money to the DNC, DSCC, and DCCC. There was no way I wanted a dime of my money going to a Blue Dog just because they had a “D” after their name. Unfortunately, I’d give to pro-equality Rs more often except I get physically ill when I see mailers and envelopes in my mailbox from pieces of filth like Jim DeMint, Frothy Mix, Mitch McConnell, etc.

chiMaxx
March 15th, 2013 | LINK

I welcome Senator Portman. Yes, I’m a little sad that he was not able to extend empathy to gay people–to understand how it might be to walk in their shoes–until his own son came out to him. But once his son did come out he took that step and took it publicly,. forthrightly and bravely. Yes, I look for him to follow it up with action. But this is an important and positive step, and I welcome and applaud him.

JohnAGJ
March 15th, 2013 | LINK

I welcome the Senator’s change of heart. He is no different than millions of other Americans who when confronted with a loved one who is gay begins to rethink what they thought they knew about Teh Gheys. Is there political expediency here? Perhaps. The same could be said about Obama’s “evolved” support, along with quite a number of other Democrats. I don’t know the Senator’s mind or heart on this, but it’s clear that he loves his son and passed a test that far too many parents have failed miserably. Kudos to him. Now I hope that Will Portman can slowly get his dad to come around on more than just same-sex marriage when it comes to gay rights…

Reed
March 15th, 2013 | LINK

Let’s hope he proves to be another Roy Ashburn, taking pro-active steps to undo some portion of the damage he’s done thus far. I’ll watch and wait.

JohnAGJ
March 15th, 2013 | LINK

Btw, if it helps any take a gander at the wailing and gnashing of teeth among social cons at FreeRepublic and HotAir. Quite enjoyable in some respects.

Reed
March 15th, 2013 | LINK

I’m struck by something Jane wrote: “Sometimes, parents do have to sit down with their gay kids and straight-up apologize.”

Now, HOW can an elected official make a similar “apology” to the hundreds of thousands he’s damaged through anti-gay votes?

Mark F.
March 16th, 2013 | LINK

The same predictable litany of complaints anytime someone changes his mind on this issue. Instead of being happy about it, all some people can do is bitch, bitch, bitch. What in hell will satisfy you people? Unbelievable.

Andrew
March 16th, 2013 | LINK

I am excited to see the number of responses to this – that’s important.

Mark, it’s not a question of “bitching”, and I don’t think it’s a question of “flinging shit in their faces” per se, but it is a question of being neither a sycophantic moron… but also not being bitterly, oppositionally impossible to please.

When these reversals happen, there’s a love-fest in the media that is highly superficial. Personally I find that tough to swallow, but understandable given the superficiality of most media coverage. I find sycophancy here with those who should know better quite more than I’m willing to let pass without comment.

It’s about trust, and it’s about character, and those are notoriously difficult to pin down, especially in politics. It requires consideration and thought. To accept these without using our critical thinking is not only shockingly naive and self-destructive, it sells every gay person short, and my forgiveness does not come cheap. To bitterly refuse every sincere move in our direction as fraud, or too little too late is also sadly unproductive (if predictable).

Skepticism is not the equivalent of gracelessness.

I stand by my posting way up top… it’s a case-by-case gut decision, and it requires that we read up. It’s hard work, folks, but we gotta do it.

Brennin Statistician
March 16th, 2013 | LINK

“My child is gay” is not an argument for SSM. The proper response to that is “Yeah and?” Homosexuality is still irrational and a violation of the intrinsic finality of humans; males and females have complementary sexual organs for a reason. (Incidentally, I am aware that Rob Tisinai *thinks* he has refuted these sorts of arguments but in reality the only thing he has accomplished is to provide external validation for the work of Dunning and Kruger.)

As a Republican, I would not vote for Portman if I lived in Ohio any more than I would vote for the pendeja Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, whom I made the mistake of voting for once but never again.

gsingjane
March 16th, 2013 | LINK

That’s interesting Brennin!

You started off with a logical-sounding statement about why you oppose gay marriage. Most here would disagree with you but would support your right to express your opinion.

However, your second paragraph contains an egregious homophobic slur, quite similar to using “faggot” or “homo.” Most people no longer use these words in polite conversation.

Which is it? Do you have intellectual, rational reasons for opposing gay marriage, or is it more of an instinctual, “I hate these people” kind of a thing?

Brennin Statistician
March 16th, 2013 | LINK

gsingjane:

You are mistaken. I called Ileana Ros-Lehtinen a pendeja, which is an insult, to be certain, but it is not a homophobic slur. Here is the #1 entry from urban dictionary for pendeja:

“same thing as pendejo but in a feminine way … spanish for moron, idiot ect”

Ben in Oakland
March 16th, 2013 | LINK

Intrinsic finality?

Tee UND hee.

Not all masturbation is intellectual, my. Friend.

gsingjane
March 16th, 2013 | LINK

@ Brennin – you were right and I was wrong; based on how I’d heard the word used when I lived in NYC I had assumed it was an anti-gay slur but after having looked it up, I see that isn’t so. I got quite an education, actually.

Still and all, I don’t see where calling someone an “anal pubic hair” has much of a place in what purports to be a serious intellectual discussion.

Priya Lynn
March 16th, 2013 | LINK

Brennin said “Homosexuality is still irrational and a violation of the intrinsic finality of humans; males and females have complementary sexual organs for a reason.”.

There is noting irrational about two people doing someting they enjoy which hurts no one. What’s irrational is to oppose that. Just because sexual organs can be used in one (heterosexual)way does not mean they cannot be used in a slightly different way or that they shouldn’t be used in that way.

The irrationality is entirely yours Brennin.

Priya Lynn
March 16th, 2013 | LINK

I should add that morally speaking the onus is not on gays and lesbians to justify why they deserve the same rights as everyone else, the moral onus is on bigots like Brennin to justify denying rights to a minority that everyone else has.

Innocent until proven guilty. Morally speaking you can’t assume its justifiable to deny gays the right to marriage without giving a good reason. And you don’t have one.

Hue-Man
March 16th, 2013 | LINK

One point that seems to be missing from this interesting discussion is that Portman had a choice – he could have done what many other Republicans have done in a similar situation and KEPT HIS MOUTH SHUT. He could have mumbled “traditional marriage” and “states rights” and he would have been safely in the 90% of the TeaParty/GOP. My interpretation of his political motivation is that he’s trying to be a leader – that is, catch up to the majority of Americans! – on an issue that he also happens to have a personal interest in. I’m not going to criticize him nor throw a parade – how about a “good on ya”?

Off-topic: At the top of the comments, gsingjane asked: “Do you really get as worked up about anti-Muslim prejudice in society, or about discrimination against the disabled, if these things don’t affect you directly?”

I do. As a member of a community, discrimination against another member of the community reflects upon me. On a more practical level, once you allow for one group to be discriminated against, it’s open season for discrimination against anybody and everybody.

Richard Gadsden
March 16th, 2013 | LINK

“There is more joy in heaven over one sinner that repenteth than over 99 who have nothing to repent.”

Welcome, Sen. Portman. Changing your mind, in public, as a politician, is hard. Well done, and welcome to the right side of the argument.

Timothy Kincaid
March 17th, 2013 | LINK

Homosexuality is still irrational and a violation of the intrinsic finality of humans; males and females have complementary sexual organs for a reason.

You come here speaking of irrationality and follow it up by an appeal to theology. As a Protestant, I’m not an advocate for what Catholics (ironically) call Natural Law, nor am I a believer in “intrinsic finality”. So I’ll just laugh at your second objection and address your first.

Sexuality as experienced by any living human is irrational. It’s emotional and hormonal and driven by instincts that defy logic and rational thought.

In fact, about the closest thing to “rational sexuality” would be the intentional mechanisms applied to achieve pregnancy, preferably without coitus. A lesbian couple utilizing artificial insemination is rational. Heterosexual f@cking is not.

Ben in Oakland
March 17th, 2013 | LINK

Like I said to him, Timothy.

Not all masturbation is intellectual.

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