Okay, I know Rob Portman deserves a certain modest amount of golf clapping for proclaiming his support of gay marriage as a result of his son coming out to him two years ago. Sure, here's a pat on the back, Rob Portman. Congratulations on being a sentient human whose firm faith-based convictions crumble utterly when an abstract idea like "dudes holding hands and loving up on each other" becomes an actual thing in the world you live in that you can't wish away and must confront like an adult.
Here's the thing, though: Rob Portman's son came out in 2011, but it was in June of 2012 that he asserted his belief that it shouldn't be illegal to fire someone for being gay. So... wtf? Did his son's gay magic not work on him at first? I guess it took a while for all the rainbow flags and glitter bombs to arrive in the mail and warp his moral compass. I'm sure his resilient anti-gay position (ha, anti-gay position) had nothing to do with the fact that he was on Mitt Romney's shortlist of vice presidential candidates before Mittens went with 12-year-old Ayn Rand fanfic scribbler Paul Ryan instead, for sex appeal reasons, I guess. (Because who didn't have a crush on Eddie Munster as a child, amiright?)
Beyond that irritating detail, though, why is it that Republicans have to experience something themselves before they can even think of considering changing a policy position? Do things not exist as important issues affecting real people until a Republican's blinders are ripped off his painfully white face and his index fingers pulled from his waxy earholes?
Rachel Maddow blog maestro Steve Benen has a wonderful post about this very question today. Money quote:
It seems the key to American social progress in the 21st century is simple: more conservatives having more life experiences. Indeed, I'd be glad to introduce Republican lawmakers to more Americans who are poor, in the hopes they'll stop trying to cut health care programs; students, in the hopes they'll stop opposing education investments; women, in the hopes they'll stop opposing women's health care; and African Americans, in the hopes that they'll stop supporting voter-suppression tactics.Yep, it's one man, one woman, for the good of civilization, until of course there's a family issue that forces this unerring position to change, and wouldn't you know it, civilization doesn't crumble, for some reason.
Maybe I'm being too hard on Rob Portman. Staunch conservatives like him have been faced with this very thing and they've not surrendered like weenies--Phyllis Schlafly, for one; Newt Gingrich for another. So I guess we should just be happy to have one more Republican weenie joining us in the gay circus. Someone pass Rob a flaming hula hoop to jump through, or something.