So this week, we come full circle, to Senator Rob Portman of Ohio changing his mind on marriage equality because his son is gay. The gay liberation movement's theory about coming out is, more or less, right.
Yet here on the DailyKos, people are flipping out. We don't want "to give him credit" because he's "just doing it for personal reasons". Apparently, the personal is no longer also political.
He's just a villain, period, because he's got an "R" behind his name. Think carefully--if he had a "D" behind his name, would you say the same things about him as you've said? Of course you wouldn't.
Lest people forget, the Democrats have not always been angels on LGBT issues. In fact, the more cynical of us might say the Democrats strung us along until we could be strung along no more (i.e., when the Supreme Court agreed to take the Proposition 8 / DOMA case), deferring marriage equality endlessly to keep us on as campaign contributors.
The Democrats not only didn't oppose the Defense of Marriage Act and Don't Ask, Don't Tell, they supported it in overwhelming numbers, and it was a Democrat who signed it into law without even a whisper of a veto, even a symbolic veto that would have shown his disagreement.
They told homophobic jokes on mikes they didn't know were open when running for President, and more than once.
Even as recently as two years ago, Obama was followed around at his fundraisers by people protesting his inaction on marriage equality, including at least one testy exchange with them caught on YouTube. Were it not for LGBT protestors at his fundraisers, or Lt. Daniel Choi chaining himself to the White House fence, or Rachel Maddow having Lt. Choi on her show nightly, or the whispered threat of an LGBT campaign donor boycott, how quickly would Obama have "evolved" in his position on marriage equality?
Let me be clear: Thank goodness for Obama. He did "evolve", and we're not facing another Clintonesque betrayal--"thank all y'all for yer money, but go away now". Obama ushered in a politics of courage rather than Clinton's politics of cowardice.
But it wasn't so long ago that Democrats were all too willing to sell LGBT people down the river, and the only ones who stood up for us were Democrats who either were LGBT themselves, or had LGBT members of their families, just like Rob Portman now.
So let's get off our high horses about Senator Portman.
He's living proof that "coming out" works as it was originally intended, and we need as many people on our side--D or R--as possible.