The big story in Ohio today is that Ohio's Republican senator, Rob Portman has come out in favor of gay marriage. Why the big change from someone who is just as "severely conservative" as Mitt Romney pretended to be? Well, turns out Senator Portman's son, Will, is gay. I say, kudos to Senator Portman and his wife for supporting and loving their son, as well as for changing his position on the issue of gay marriage. But in his opinion piece in the Columbus Disgrace--er, Dispatch today, he shows us exactly why Republicans suck on issues that Americans care about.
More after the jump.
Senator Portman goes on to explain in his opinion piece that he hasn't always supported gay marriage, as if we didn't know. But that something changed his position, and it started with his son Will telling him in February of 2011 that he was gay. Regarding his thoughts at the time, Portman writes:
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.This is written all flowery and nice, but here's the problem: he never considered how the issue of gay marriage affects people until it affected him. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad he's come over to our side (we have cookies!), but this reveals exactly why Republican politicians suck. They don't think about things from other people's perspective. They don't have to struggle to eat, so they don't think about what happens when they cut food stamps and people who already have too little to eat have even less. They have retirement savings and won't have to depend on Social Security, so they don't think about how gutting SS effects people who depend on it to survive. They can afford their own healthcare without any problem, so this big scary Obamacare mandate is all bad news, it can't possibly help people who have no insurance now and just pray they don't get sick or injured, because it doesn't help them. They just end up paying extra taxes for people who are lazy, right? Because how else would you end up in a situation like that, unless you were lazy? Because Republican politicians aren't lazy, and they're all well-off, so the opposite must be true--if you're lazy you fail at life. Thus if you've failed, it's your own fault, so why should anybody else help you? Help yourself, damnit!
This idea of "It doesn't effect me personally so I don't give an eff" isn't a new Republican idea, nor is it new to politics. Not only does it explain why the party is so off-base from what the American people feel and experience on a daily basis, but why they tend to be assholes in general. Old white men aren't likely to face the idea of getting an abortion any time soon seeing as how they don't have uteruses, and they don't care to think about the plight of the woman who DOES consider having the procedure. Because it doesn't personally affect them.
I'm not holding my breath that Senator Portman (R-Level Up!) will suddenly become a liberal. But maybe this will open his eyes a tiny bit to the idea that not everyone has the same life experience as him, so perhaps he needs to consider that when formulating policy positions since that policy, you know, affects everyone.
Additionally, a few more noteworthy passages from his piece:
I wrestled with how to reconcile my Christian faith with my desire for Will to have the same opportunities to pursue happiness and fulfillment as his brother and sister. Ultimately, it came down to the Bible’s overarching themes of love and compassion and my belief that we are all children of God.I'm a devout atheist, but I think he's on to something here about that whole love and compassion thing. Didn't this guy named Jesus talk about that stuff?
And, perhaps more shocking:
British Prime Minister David Cameron has said he supports allowing gay couples to marry because he is a conservative, not in spite of it. I feel the same way. We conservatives believe in personal liberty and minimal government interference in people’s lives. We also consider the family unit to be the fundamental building block of society. We should encourage people to make long-term commitments to each other and build families, so as to foster strong, stable communities and promote personal responsibility.YES, small government means don't tell me who the fuck I can marry, at least he gets it. But more fascinating to me is that he's actually actively arguing that gay marriage helps build families just the same as heterosexual marriage. He has totally reversed the conservative meme that teh evil gays destroy marriage. Portman says he hasn't considered the political fallout of his stance, but I don't think there's no way he hasn't. He's screwed for heavily conservative primaries if he were to run for national office by this issue. But if he has no plans to run for the White House, or at least not for another ten years or so, he may have time for the party to swing his way, who knows. I CAN tell you since I live in western central Ohio, in Speaker Boehner's (R-dick) district, a very red and very socially conservative gay-hatin' district and area, that Portman won't have any easy go at it in this area of the state. But with shifting demographics, he may be able to hold on to his seat when he's up for reelection in 2016. We'll have to wait and see. I know I won't be voting for him because he's still an asshole on other issues.
One way to look at it is that gay couples’ desire to marry doesn't amount to a threat but rather a tribute to marriage, and a potential source of renewed strength for the institution.
8:43 AM PT: Holy Magikarp guys, the wreck list! What are you doing, don't you know only super important people go there? Anyway, thanks for the support of a rant, I'll go back to my little corner now.