Rob Portman Continued Voting Very Anti-Gay AFTER His Son Came Out To Him
There's something not quite right about the Rob Portman backs marriage equality story. When Romney was desperately trying to put together a winning ticket last year, one strategy was to win pivotal Ohio by picking the state's Republican senator as his VP nominee. The chances of Portman, elected statewide, being able to help him win Ohio's 18 electoral votes was much, much greater than the chance of Ryan-- who has never run for anything outside of his congressional district, where he had never even had a real opponent and was never actually tested-- helping him win Wisconsin's 10 electoral votes. Portman is far more Romney's "type" and would have made a less awkward and dysfunctional match than Ryan did. But something went "wrong" in the vetting process. Portman disclosed to Romney that his 20 year ld son, Will, is gay. [In the end, Obama won Wisconsin with a comfortable 53%, while scraping by in Ohio with only 51%.]
No one's hiding anything, but Will came out to his parents two years ago. Portman's voting record on issues impacting the LGBT community is extremely homophobic. He almost always votes against equality. Since his son came out, the Senate took up several bills important to the gay community. For example, on April 26 last year, Portman voted for an amendment to strip provisions designed to protect American Indians, immigrants and members of the LGBT community in an anti-domestic violence bill. More recently-- last June-- he voted to keep a GOP filibuster going against confirming Mari Carmen Aponte as Ambassador to El Salvador. Ms. Carmen isn't a lesbian but right-wing sociopath Jim DeMint claimed an article she once wrote was pro-gay and that that disqualified her from being Ambassador. Portman went along with DeMint, although 7 other Republicans crossed the aisle, shut down DeMint's insane filibuster (62-37 and subsequently confirmed her. Even cowering closet case Lindsey Graham voted to shut down the filibuster. So did die-hard homophobe Marco Rubio. Portman has a zero rating by ProgressivePunch on his voting record on roll calls crucial to the LGBT community.
Portman now claims that when his son told him he's gay (two years ago) "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... The overriding message of love and compassion that I take from the Bible, and certainly the Golden Rule, and the fact that I believe we are all created by our maker, that has all influenced me in terms of my change on this issue." He didn't explain why he joined the DeMint filibuster of Aponte or why he voted to take gay people out of the domestic violence bill.
Portman said he believes that same-sex couples who marry legally in states where it's allowed should get the federal benefits that are granted to heterosexual married couples but aren't currently extended to gay married couples because of DOMA, such as the ability to file joint tax returns. Family law has traditionally been a state responsibility, Portman says, so the federal definition of marriage should not preempt state marriage laws.
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.
He said his decision to announce his new stance was not motivated by its potential political impact, and he was not sure what the fallout would be. He noted that nine states and the District of Columbia have legalized same-sex marriage, and that the issue has more support among younger people.
"I believe in some respects that this is more generational than it is partisan," said Portman.
He said he does not know of other Republican U.S. senators who share his views on gay marriage, although Cheney agrees with them, and recently advised him to "do the right thing, follow your heart."
Portman said he decided to announce his change of heart on Thursday because he anticipates getting questions on the issue in view of the upcoming U.S. Supreme Court arguments over gay marriage. He said he does not plan to sign onto any legal briefs on the case.
He said factors in the timing of his announcement included "getting comfortable with my position and wanting to do this before the politics of these court decisions make it more difficult to have an honest discussion."
And then there's the tweet below, for the Satan-worshipers who still dominate large swathes of the Republican Party, particularly in the old slave-holding states (fewer retweets and favorites). Fischer couldn't hold himself back from writing about it this morning:
Public policy should be based on reason, not emotion. If it turned out my son was a bank robber, I would not love my son any less. I might even have great sympathy for the circumstances that drove him to steal. I would come alongside him and help him in any way that was in my power. But I would not change my mind about the morality of bank robbing.
Sen. Portman indicated that he had always believed that marriage is the union of one man and one woman because of his Christian faith and the teaching of the Methodist church. He voted for DOMA as a member of the House in 1996. His emotional attachment to his son is clearly what led him to turn away from the 3500 years of moral instruction preserved in Scripture.
But certainly, emotion must not trump the word of God. What God has defined, man must not redefine.
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