Monday, March 18, 2013


Senator Rob Portman came out in support of same-sex marriage last week. Why is that a big deal? He's a Republican (from Ohio). Mr. Portman reversed his position on this hot issue because his son told him that he is gay

The first argument I heard against the senator reversing his position is that it's not right to flip-flop on an issue. 

Apparently those people feel we should pick a side early on in a argument, before we have all the facts and without considering all points of view, and then hold that position no matter what we learn. 

These are not the people I want running my country.

It isn't like his son came out on Wednesday and Mr. Portman held a press conference on Friday (though if he did, I honestly don't think there'd be anything wrong with that). His son came out to his family in February 2011 - two years ago.

For two years, Mr. Portman has had the benefit of closely observing how a ban on same-sex marriage would impact individuals. He has had the chance to hear and see a different perspective. A chance that not many with his background and in his position do. He had the chance - and he listened. 

Isn't that who we want making decisions that will shape our country? Someone who will listen? 

The other argument I've read is that he has a responsibility to represent the interests of the people who elected him, not his own personal preference. 

That's not true. He has a responsibility to represent the interests of the people of Ohio - all the people, not just those who voted for him. The trend in the United States is a growing support of same-sex marriage. If 51% of Americans support it, what are the odds that at least a few of those people live in Ohio? 

The bottom line is, the man was elected to do a job. Part of that job is listening, learning, and interpreting information to enact laws that protect all of his constituents. Like many Americans, he's learned - and in doing so, his opinion has evolved. 

That makes him a better representative. It's how this is supposed to work. 
“I have come to believe that if two people are prepared to make a lifetime commitment to love and care for each other in good times and in bad, the government shouldn’t deny them the opportunity to get married,” Portman wrote in an essay for the Columbus Dispatch.