Friday, March 15, 2013

Rob Portman announces support for gay marriage

This is a big one -- Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, conservative from just about every angle, writes an op-ed in the Columbus Dispatch, announcing his support for same-sex marriage.

The crucial moment that led to his reversal? His college-aged son, Will, recently came out.

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.

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.

Then he provides an important stipulation -- one that's especially meant to assuage Christians who believe homosexual behavior is wrong and worry about maintaining the freedom to exercise their religious ceremonies in accordance with their belief.

Well-intentioned people can disagree on the question of marriage for gay couples, and maintaining religious freedom is as important as pursuing civil marriage rights.

For example, I believe that no law should force religious institutions to perform weddings or recognize marriages they don’t approve of.

This is a pretty big deal.

Portman's conservative cred is fairly unassailable, and nabbing him is the biggest get for same-sex marriage proponents since Barack Obama's historic announcement last year.

By the time 2016 rolls around, it wouldn't be surprising to see the top tier GOP candidates taking the following tact: I personally oppose same sex marriage, but it should be left up to the states, and there are bigger issues to talk about.