Friday, March 15, 2013

Ohio GOP Senator Portman supports gay marriage after learning of gay son


Senator Rob Portman, Republican Senator of Ohio, now backs gay marriage, having learned that his son is gay.  The New York Times has a story by Jeremy Peters Friday, here

Portman is the only Republican so far to support same-sex marriage publicly.  But a number of other Republicans have actually supported a brief before the Supreme Court for litigation that would strike down DOMA.

The “coming out” of adult children of major conservative politicians is starting to have a real effect.  Portman said he had a “change of heart”. In 1999, he had actually supported a provision preventing same-sex couples in Washington DC from adopting children (it went nowhere). 

There is even a story that in "Bowers v. Hardwick" in 1986, one of the justices who voted for the negative decision didn't know that his lead clerk was gay. 

Opponents of same-sex marriage are having to come to terms with why it is so important to them that a (by form) procreative act be possible for a relationship to be legitimate.  Older religious and tribal societies have, of course, viewed procreation and fertility as essential to the future and even survival of the group, so a member who does not care about having children could be seen as unworthy of the group.  A pluralistic, technological society can have concerns that everyone believe that what happens after he or she is gone really matters, given sustainability issues.  The Vatican tends to view openness to procreation (and its risks) as closely related to being able to care about other people when they are helpless or really needy.

But this is "the other side of the street" in moral thinking so often concerned with "choice", free will, and unwanted pregnancy.  

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