When Sen. Rob Portman Flips, Gay Marriage is Over as a Political Issue

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Yesterday, Scott Shackford wrote about the GOP's "complicated" relationship to gay marriage. That relationship just got a little less complicated.

Conservative Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), who served in the Bush administration, is now in favor of gay marriage. Writing in the Columbus Dispatch, Portman cites the fact that one of his children is gay as decisive in his shift:

Two years ago, my son Will, then a college freshman, told my wife, Jane, and me that he is gay. He said he’d known for some time, and that his sexual orientation wasn’t something he chose; it was simply a part of who he is. Jane and I were proud of him for his honesty and courage. We were surprised to learn he is gay but knew he was still the same person he’d always been. The only difference was that now we had a more complete picture of the son we love.

He invokes Ronald Reagan in pushing for marriage equality - "Ronald Reagan said all great change in America begins at the dinner table, and that’s been the case in my family" - and concludes:

I’ve thought a great deal about this issue, and like millions of Americans in recent years, I’ve changed my mind on the question of marriage for same-sex couples. As we strive as a nation to form a more perfect union, I believe all of our sons and daughters ought to have the same opportunity to experience the joy and stability of marriage.

Read the whole thing here.

Portman's conversion on the issue comes after high-profile flips by Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, whose announcements carried at least a whiff of politicial opportunism to them (Obama's came during a presidential campaign when he needed to shore up LGBT support among Democrats and Clinton's came a decade-plus after he signed the anti-gay Defense of Marriage Act). Even with those caveats, they were still powerful indicators that the wheel has turned definitively in one direction. When a Christian conservative Republican signs on to the same basic policy shift, it's a fait accompli.

It's always a good thing when the state recognizes people first and foremost as individuals rather than members of groups that can be granted or denied privileges at the whim of political elites. Whether this presages getting the state out of the tax code regarding marriage or extending the same benefits to all couples regardless of orientation, treating all married couples the same makes sense. The only question that remains is how many politicians (mostly Republicans to be sure, but also a fair number of Democrats at the state and local level) insist on opposing marriage equality for the indefinite future.

Reason on gay marriage.

Watch "Why Gay Marriage is Winning":

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  • Jordan||

    We were surprised to learn he is gay

    Come on. Really?

  • Brandybuck||

    My parents were surprised to learn I was a heterosexual firmly committed to boffing the opposite gender.

    "But how can you possibly be straight? We're still not grandparents!"

  • ||

    Haha, I know someone like that. My friend's dad has started telling people he thinks his son might be a closet case because he isn't married and hasn't been in many significant relationships. My friend seems to think it's really funny.

    My parents, otoh, spent a decade firmly believing that I was "just confused" and "not really gay."

  • Proprietist||

    Did they ever come around?

  • ||

    Eh, I started making casual references to my sex life and they've met two boyfriends (I had avoided introducing bfs to my parents because I feared it would be awkward [AND IT WAS]) and they've moved on to believing that Jesus will change my heart at some point.

  • Aresen||

    Jesus?

    You want a Latin Lover?

    *ducks*

  • Not a Libertarian||

    I am not entirely certain that my parents knew.

    Many parents remain willfully unaware of the sexual orientation of their children.

  • NeonCat||

    Worth reading, it's a hoot.

    http://notalwaysrelated.com/pa.....rt-2/25303

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Politician supports laws which benefit his relatives. Film at 11.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    And if his son wanted to be head of the National Endowment for the Arts, Portman would presumably have shifted to supporting that agency, increasing his budget, and putting Portman, Jr. at the head of it.

  • Aresen||

    Shorter Portman:

    1)Gay marriage laws affect your son: Fuck you.
    2)Gay marriage laws affect my son: Change the law!

  • Jordan||

    Can we get Rob Portman's son to start using hookers, drugs, and assault weapons?

  • JW||

    I had a similar thought.

    You're only now in favor of it because it directly has affected you? That's the worst possible reason anyone could come up with.

    OTOH, at least he finally pulled his head out of his ass.

  • ant1sthenes||

    I doubt it's that cynical. More that some requisite empathy threshold was finally breached on the issue.

  • Proprietist||

    Exactly. When disgust at a concept from afar clashes with a flesh-and-blood person you care about, one or the other is going to win out. In fact, I respect Portman for the admission/conversion moreso because this probably won't help him politically.

  • ||

    There now, was that so difficult?

    You are almost there. Someday, if you really think hard about it, you may ask yourself why government is involved in marriage at all.

  • robc||

    Blame the Italians.

  • sarcasmic||

    WOP's up? How's your dago?

  • kinnath||

    Dick Cheney II

  • Sudden||

    This only makes me dislike the man even more. I think it is the height of douchebaggery to only support laws when they directly benefit you or your relatives. I vote against my self interest all the time because of principle.

  • Brandybuck||

    It's not all self interest. People do change their minds on occasion, and sometimes it's because of the kids. Unlike libertarians, most people in this world run on emotions, and a son who is gay will do a lot more to change their mind than a million angry posts on HnR.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    "Unlike libertarians, most people in this world run on emotions"

    Is that a jest?

  • Brandybuck||

    No, an exaggerated observation of fact. Libertarians are far more "rational" and "systematic" in their thinking than non-libertarians. Liberals and conservative instead base their ideologies more on emotional reactions. Someone is hurting therefore the government must do something about it; something is icky therefore government must ban it; etc.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    If you want to see an "ick" reaction, try talking to certain libertarians about God-given rights.

  • Rights-Minimalist Autocrat||

    I think you're confusing which person is the emotional one and which is the rational one in that example.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Have you seen sevo's posts on that topic?

  • ||

    He's saying that if you believe in god-given rights YOU'RE the emotional one.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    I picked that up, thank you.

    And Thomas Jefferson thanks you, too.

  • wareagle||

    most Red and Blue stances are emotionally driven, like Portman on gay marriage. Some might say the same about Obama on this issue; he changed because he thought it would help his re-election campaign, not because he thought the question through and had a rational change of opinion.

  • robc||

    principle == self-interest

    At least in the long term.

  • Sudden||

    True enough. I try to explain that at times, but long time horizon thinking is not well understood in modern American society.

  • ||

    I think it is the height of douchebaggery to only support laws when they directly benefit you or your relatives.

    Sometimes, in order to change your mind on a topic, you need to see it from another perspective.

    In college I was a gay basher. Why? Because I never thought about it and everyone else was.

    After I graduated, I had a 9 month wait before my job started, so I got a job waiting tables. About two months into it, I made a crack about fags or something. A waitress took me aside and said, "You do realize over half the people working here, including your boss, are gay, right?"

    It made me stop, for the first time, and actually think it through. I liked these people. They weren't hurting anybody. Why wouldn't I want them to be happy? One of my first steps to libertarianism.

    So I'll cut Portman some slack.

  • Sudden||

    In college I was a gay basher. Why? Because I never thought about it and everyone else was.

    This is an interesting point for one reason: I couldn't care less what a person thinks about teh ghey. I'm more concerned about what a person thinks about liberty. The thing that pisses me off about this issue is that it always seems to break based on what a person thinks of homosexuality itself.

    Granted, I have no problem with gays and I'm perfectly fine with gay marriage (although from a judicial standpoint, I don't view as a 14th equal protection issue, but rather a freedom of association 1st, 9th, and 10th issue). But I have more respect for one who thinks gay is disgusting and has never met a homosexual they like but supports their freedom than one who supports gay marriage not based on any fundamental principle underlying it but rather because they have gay friends/family and they're super cool.

  • wareagle||

    one of the biggest mental disconnects that exists in folks is the one between "this is what I believe and why" and "this is what I believe and you should be forced to agree with me."

  • ||

    But I have more respect for one who thinks gay is disgusting and has never met a homosexual they like but supports their freedom than one who supports gay marriage not based on any fundamental principle underlying it but rather because they have gay friends/family and they're super cool.

    Agreed. Agreeing with something based on principle is much better than agreeing with something based upon emotion. In my case, and I assume in others, there needs to be a first step where you abandon emotion and start thinking critically. That was mine.

    Perhaps, Portman will come to the same conclusion I did and rethink some of the other "Obvious" positions he holds, and start basing future decisions on principle.

    Odds are against...but maybe.

  • Proprietist||

    Unfortunately, for most people, the guiding principle is "If I like something, make it legal. If I don't, ban it." The fundamental underlying principle is that "policy should reflect my own personal tastes, because my reasoning as to why things are good or bad is sound in my mind. When my tastes change through experience, so does my views on policy."

    Even reasonable people have a problem with, for instance, the unregulated legalization of heroin. But being consistent on the principle of liberty means overcoming the impulse to succumb to extreme distaste or hatred of anything that falls within that spectrum, and most people naturally can't do that. Accepting that, it's hard to judge people for moving in the right direction.

  • geekster||

    And if you can't see it from another prospective, without personally experiencing it, you not actually all that open minded.

    And more importantly, it mines your original rejection of the notion wasn't based on some deeply held, well thought out principle, you just picked an opinion and made other people life difficult over a completely arbitrary choice. People like to hate on Christians for their dislike of gays, but outside of the wackos, most Christians ultimately believe that they are trying to save the eternal souls of the fags in question. Disagree with that or not, but it's a position held because they believe they're working towards the best interests of people, not just being asshole for the sake of being an asshole. And given the job of dispensing justice to assholes by type, I'd let the principled asshole to die in a slightly cooler fire that the arbitrary asshole.

    Obama, and now Portman are arbitrary assholes. Either all the family value bullshit that they spouted before they needed the votes/found out his son likes dick was self serving, reflexive bullshit for the Jesus voters, or when his 'principles' ran up against his immediate self interests, he folded like a cheap suit.

  • Proprietist||

    Or opinions and values change. Even consistent libertarians agree to disagree on gay marriage.

  • Eric||

    "but outside of the wackos, most Christians ultimately believe that they are trying to save the eternal souls of the fags in question."

    I think that it's the other way around. Outside of a few principled xstians who truly love gays, but hate their actions, the rest hide their utter contempt behind nice words about saved souls. It's A form of right wing PC.

  • Proprietist||

    "Save traditional marriage" is total PC, because what it really means is "ban all other forms of marriage" without sounding authoritarian.

    Hell, even many racists are politically correct nowadays, calling themselves "race realists" and implying instead of employing explicit racial slurs.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    If only his son had come out as a libertarian.

  • JW||

    He would have just disowned him, at that point.

    Not THAT!

  • sarcasmic||

    Some things are worse than being gay.

  • itsnotmeitsyou||

    Could be worse... He could have come out as *gasp*... an atheist.

  • JW||

    I hear this anguished anxiety from the wife-unit all the time re the spawn: "What is he/she is gay?"

    What about it?, I ask. Are you going to beat teh ghey out of them?

  • Jordan||

    I can kinda sorta understand why a father would be worried about that because "RAWR MANLY ACTIVITIES", but why would a mother be worried about that?

  • ||

    I think my (single) mother was worried about me being gay when I was young so she started sending me on camping trips with her friend's very manly husband (this isn't a molestation story so read on). I fired a gun for the first time at six or seven, learned how to accurately balance and throw a knife and decided having a beard was the height of cool. Totally didn't stop me from turning out gay, but I rock an awesome beard which has come back into vogue.

  • Marla Singer||

    No grandkids. Duh.

  • NoVAHockey||

    as long as my son wants to have a beer with me when i'm old, i'll count that as a win.

  • JW||

    Yep. "Are you happy?" "Yes."

    Parental job done.

  • Jay Dubbington||

    Growing up in a catholic household I too was once against gay marriage. Then I did that whole maturation/growing up thing along with actually socializing with gay folks changed my opinion. I'm sure people will jump on him for this, but honestly maybe it shows he is open minded? Maybe he is full of crap who knows.

    The problem I have with most liberals and conservatives is how close minded they both are on issues. Two sides of the same coin. So a little open mindedness goes a long way in my book.

  • Ted Levy||

    Don't take this the wrong way, but if this is what it takes for Rob Portman to "re-think" gay marriage, I certainly hope one of his children gets SWATted for drug use sometime soon...

  • sarcasmic||

    Some things are worse than being gay. Using drugs for example.

  • JW||

    Sadly, that seems to be what it takes for the statist status quo to finally 'get it' on any subject of gubmint abuse. See: Mayor of Berwyn Heights' dead dog-SWAT raid, etc.

    The upside is that it gives them credibility as a critic, since they're one of "them."

  • Old Bull Lee||

    "rather than members of groups that can be granted or denied privileges at the whim of political elites"

    Go ask a rabid gay marriage activist how they feel about legalizing polygamy.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Or about letting secular businesses make their own choices about which customers to serve, and which benefits to provide to their employees.

  • H man||

    Yes but polygamy actually has negative effects on society unlike gay marriage.

    /gay marriage activist

  • Proprietist||

    I asked myself, and I'm cool with it.

    But seriously, not only is this question usually couched in a slippery slope fallacy (what about man-boy or woman-dog marriages? You support those too, right?), but isn't that like asking the NRA what they think about violent video games? Regardless of their answer, it's not their mission to defend the right to sell video games.

  • ||

    Go ask a rabid gay marriage activist how they feel about legalizing polygamy.

    IT'S A TRAP

    I don't give a shit if poly couples have access to civil marriage, but I've spent a good twenty years listening to conservatives screaming about slippery slopes. First it'll be gay marriage then polygamy and next thing you know men will be marrying chihuahuas. It's intellectually dishonest to blame gay marriage activists for being defensive on polygamy when they've been persistently beaten over the head about the issue by anti-gay marriage advocates.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    It's perfectly fair to challenge the SSM advocates to explain why govt-recognized polygamy is *totally not the same thing* as govt-recognized SSM.

    If, in fact, it *is* the same thing, the SSM crowd could simply say, "relax, it's all good, polygamy is fine for the same reason SSM is fine, why is everyone so hysterical?"

    But that is not exactly the uniform response of the SSM folks, many of whom insist the two issues ARE TOTALLY UNRELATED, YOU HATERS!!!!"

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    The Washington Post's Lisa Miller strokes her chin over the issue:

    http://articles.washingtonpost.....ivil-union

  • ||

    Is that truly the position of SSM advocates?

    I don't get it. What is the issue with polygamy? I think one wife is one too many, but hey, if you like abuse...

    ...have a nut.

  • Proprietist||

    I'm still going to presume far more gay marriage activists support polygamy than society at large. Fault the rest for not being consistent or for acting out of frustration at having to defend the slippery slope.

    As polygamy generally polls as less popular than SSM, the anti-SSM folks use this to try to turn ambivalent people against SSM. I wish the movement was consistent too, but they're choosing their battles.

    Here's a perfect example: bashing NORML for not defending the legalization of heroin.

  • ||

    I don't see it as a slippery slope. Why is being married to more than one one person, "worse" than homosexuality. It's a false premise.

  • Proprietist||

    Doesn't that depend on the perspective of the person asking the question and how they desire to use the answer?

  • ||

    As a libertarian, there is no slope if the action doesn't infringe on the rights of others. Neither does. Equally neutral.

  • Proprietist||

    Yes, from a strictly libertarian perspective I agree. But most people asking this question are attempting to discredit SSM by proving either that its advocates are inconsistent and hypocritical, or demonstrating to both their own choir and to ambivalents on the subject how cultural relativism can lead to the endless degradation of morality.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    It's not difficult to find SSM advocates who denounce polygamy.

    Jonathan Rauch: "Same sex marriage leads away from polygamy, not for it....The problem with polygamy, historically, and there's tons of literature about this, Michel - polygamy is the oldest form of marriage and the most predominant form of marriage in human society - the problem with it is that it almost invariably means one man, multiple wives, and when one man takes two wives, some other man gets no wife."

    http://www.npr.org/2012/05/31/.....l-polygamy

    Eliayahu Federaman in the HuffPost: "The arguments against polygamy don't stem from Judeo-Christian-Muslim values against same-sex marriage (values that historically permit polygamy!) but rather from the provable societal dangers associated with polygamy."

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/.....61374.html

  • Proprietist||

    And it's not difficult to find marijuana advocates that denounce heroin. What's your point? That not all advocates for a specific policy are advocates for all policies that fall down the slippery slope? That this somehow invalidates the policy they are advocating for? It's a fallacy for a reason.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    "What's your point? That not all advocates for a specific policy are advocates for all policies that fall down the slippery slope? That this somehow invalidates the policy they are advocating for? It's a fallacy for a reason."

    Then perhaps it's time that you inform Rauch and the others whom I have quoted that they are bigots, the moral equivalent of the judge who sentenced the Lovings to probation for marrying interracially. And that anyone who equivocates on the issue of polygamous marriage is a closet polygamist who is afraid to confront his or her own sexuality.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Jeffery L. Bineham in the Minnesota Post: "The slippery slope arguments against marriage equality make sense only if gay and lesbian marriages are analogous to bigamy, polygamy, incest, and bestiality. They are not. ...

    "The historical record bears this out. Countries and states that have legalized same sex-marriage have not subsequently legalized polygamy, bigamy or sibling marriages."

    http://www.minnpost.com/commun.....pery-slope

    Igor Volsky in ThinkProgress: "Santorum’s “slippery slope” argument is ultimately a red herring. Lawrence itself was about whether government can criminalize sex, not whether it is required to provide a legal benefit to certain relationships. That question has been left to the states and six that have extended benefits to same-sex couples have not, as Santorum so proudly predicted, legalized polygamy or incest — recognizing those relationships has never even been considered."

    http://thinkprogress.org/lgbt/.....-so-wrong/

  • Proprietist||

    Again, should NORML knowingly harm their marijuana legalization initiatives by simulaneously advocating for and supporting the legalization of heroin? They are two different drugs, but from a libertarian perspective the guiding principles should be the same. How exactly does not doing this invalidate their argument?

    Polygamy involves questions about the words "one and one" vs. the words "man and woman." The latter is a form of sex-based discrimination, which has been affirmed illegal by law in certain cases. People should also have the right to contract with as many people as they choose, but that's a somewhat different principle.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    If NORML's arguments logically lead to the legalization of heroin, then of course they should admit it. Telling the truth is generally better than telling fslsehoods, even in politics.

    (although I think that it's logically possible to want to legalize MJ, which is comparatively harmless, while advocating restrictions on heroin, which I understand is a harder drug. But if the arguments for legalizing one drug lead to legalizing the other, of course you have a moral duty to inform the public of this fact).

    "Polygamy involves questions about the words "one and one" vs. the words "man and woman.""

    If the man/woman definition of marriage is vulnerable, so is the 2-person definition.

    Anyway, I would like you to explain your position on polygamy, just as a NORML person should be prepared to explain his or her position on heroin.

  • Proprietist||

    But legalizing SSM does not inherently lead to legalizing polygamy.

    Sure, they should each be prepared to defend their own personal opinion if they are arguing on the sole basis of self-ownership. But NORML itself rationally tries to distance themselves from following the argument because it is political poison that distracts from their message, and the policy they propose does not legalize that poison.

  • ||

    some other man gets no wife.

    Lucky bastard!

  • ||

    There's just so much wrong with your argument. You assume that gay people all share an identical set of goals (look at you sipping the identity politics kool aid) and you still haven't dealt with the fact that the entire discussion is a trap (from what you've said, you'd be VERY bothered if we were marching lock-step toward SSM and polygamy). It seems convenient for you to argue that the gays aren't libertarian-minded enough and therefor don't deserve access to marriage since you're on a libertarian-minded site. You're probably at a conservative site cherry-picking quotes of gay activists who want to see the dissolution of state marriage and an end to 1950s marriage norms entirely.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    I'm not 100% sure that I get your argument. Nobody's rights depend on how libertarian-minded they are, thank God, and I never said any such thing.

    "You're probably at a conservative site cherry-picking quotes of gay activists who want to see the dissolution of state marriage and an end to 1950s marriage norms entirely."

    Which conservative site? Be specific.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    I'm not 100% sure that I get your argument. Nobody's rights depend on how libertarian-minded they are, thank God, and I never said any such thing.

    "You're probably at a conservative site cherry-picking quotes of gay activists who want to see the dissolution of state marriage and an end to 1950s marriage norms entirely."

    Which conservative site? Be specific.

  • ||

    Nobody's rights depend on how libertarian-minded they are, thank God, and I never said any such thing.

    That wasn't my point. You've indicated over the many posts we've shared that you have a discomfort with non-traditional marriage. It behooves you to make a libertarian-friendly version of this argument on a site like Reason. In this case that argument is that SSM supporters should all be in favor of polygamy, and that SSM supporters are disingenuous when they say they want to maximize freedom because they aren't maximizing freedom for polygamists.

    I don't need a citation for a glib hypothetical. You would be best served making exactly the opposite argument were you talking to a conservative audience. Namely that gays are trying to undermine 1950s marriage norms. This is why the entire link between polygamy and gay marriage is a trap. SSM supporters are damned if they support polygamy because the conservatives would be getting their hate on and damned if they don't because libertarians get their hate on.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    " It behooves you to make a libertarian-friendly version of this argument on a site like Reason."

    I can make whatever arguments I want. I don't have to accept libertarianism. But neither do I have to pretend that laws which require secular, for-profit businesses to accept the government's (same-sex) definition of marriage are libertarian law.

    My argument is addressed to the avowed polygamist-rights supporters on this forum, the ones who state they see no difference between government recognition of SSM and government recognition of polygamist/polyamorous relationships. My question to such folks is whether they are willing to direct the same moral outrage at Rauch and other SSM supporters who denounce polygamy as they direct against opponents of SSM? If not, why not? If opponents of govt-recognized SSM are the moral equivalent of the supporters of miscegenation laws, if they are closeted gays trying to deny their own sexuality, then by extension one would think that Rauch and other opponents of govt-recognized polygamy were also haters, possibly motivated by suppressed polygamist tendencies.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    "You assume that gay people all share an identical set of goals"

    Would you be so kind as to provide a citation, because I seem to have forgotten when I said this.

  • Proprietist||

    Your argument falls flat on its face because of both tu quoque and guilt by association. The section of SSM advocates who aren't consistently applying their principles does not inherently invalidate the case for SSM.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    So I understand that a consistent application of the principles of the SSM advocates means government recognition of polygamous relationships - a recognition which puts these relationships on the same legal plane as monogamous relationships? Is so, we can then proceed to a more fruitful discussion.

  • Proprietist||

    But not all SSM advocates share the same consistent principles. Some advocate for it because they are gay or have gay friends. Others advocate for it because they support ending discrimination on the basis of sex by government. Others advocate for it because they consistently support equal protection and want to remove the power of government to discriminate altogether. Others advocate for it because they do not believe government should be interfering in contracts and these contracts have been forced into the public realm by force of law.

    So yes, I'm all for pointing out inconstencies to people who are actually inconsistent, and that is not a fallacious argument to use their own inconsistencies to convince them to change their opinion. But that only works if they're saying "government should not have any say in marriage between consenting adults, but I oppose polygamy."

  • ||

    I was trying to get at that he holds an entire group to a set of principles that they don't all share. Conservatives, liberals and libertarians can all make legitimate cases for and against gay marriage that are based on radically different principles and may hope for radically different long term outcomes.

    John Rauch is an intelligent conservative. He has a particular long term vision for society that includes gays being domesticated by the institution of marriage. Both the premise and the outcome don't sit well with libertarians.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    So my question to folks like Proprietist is whether, "consistently applying their principles," SSM supporters would support govt-recognized polygamy, with all that implies?

  • ||

    yep, I do.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    And what about those who *don't* want the govt to recognize polygamy? Are they bigots? Are they morally equivalent to the supporters of miscegenation laws? Are they closeted polygamists in denial about their polygamist tendencies?

    Because these are some of the hyper-rational arguments you hear in favor of SSM, and I would be interested to know if you endorse similar arguments for government-recognized polygamy.

  • Proprietist||

    I agree with you that SSM advocate are certainly known to lob their own fallacies and irrational observations. The problem with SSM opponents is that every single argument they make is fallacious. I have yet to hear one that isn't.

    And yes, if they don't want government to recognize polygamy, they are bigots on that issue. That doesn't make their advocacy for SSM wrong.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    "And yes, if they don't want government to recognize polygamy, they are bigots on that issue. That doesn't make their advocacy for SSM wrong."

    OK, duly noted.

  • ||

    And that would be where you imply that all SSM supporters hold the same first principles, which we don't.

    If a conservative argues that including gays in marriage integrates them more cleanly into a sanitized 1950s vision of society, then his principles can still reject polygamy as no being capable of fitting his vision of society.

    Likewise a liberal who believes that marriage has come to mean an equal, loving partnership between a man and a woman, and not seeing much of a difference between an equal, loving partnership between two men or two women might be aghast at the idea of sister-wives without violating their principles.

  • Proprietist||

    "Would you be so kind as to provide a citation, because I seem to have forgotten when I said this."

    Looks like you said exactly this in your next comment.

  • Proprietist||

    a consistent application of the principles of the SSM advocates

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Because "SSM advocates" is the same as "gay people." Got it.

    I'll keep this argument in mind the next time someone claims that opponents of SSM are gay.

  • ||

    Wait, where was that said?

    (I'm not doing the pedantic "citation please" thing, the thread has gotten long and I'm not sure what you're referring to)

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    jesse.in.mb| 3.15.13 @ 1:19PM |#

    There's just so much wrong with your argument. You assume that gay people all share an identical set of goals...

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    "That's funny, I would have thought you would have been more partial to my dad, considering the closeted nature of most homophobes. You really would be much happier if you just stopped denying. There's absolutely nothing wrong with being gay."

    http://reason.com/blog/2013/02.....nt_3567308

  • Proprietist||

    Ah yes, my fault. You claimed that he thought all gay people have the same values, he thought that all SSM activists have the same values, and I crossed the wires. We're all wrong, actually.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    If you looked at the 1950s, I think you'd find more examples of *de facto* polygamy than of *de facto* gay marriage.

    I won't carry water for "conservatives" who say polygamy is icky but SSM is OK. If they think harassing polygamists while recognizing SSM makes them compassionate, far be it from me to separate them from their comforting delusions.

  • ||

    Ah thank you for finding that for me. You're right, I was fast and loose with my terminology there. My point still holds that SSM supporters have a broad range of starting principles and long term goals of which SSM is a part. Just like gay people have a broad range of political beliefs. I should've used the former instead of the latter.

    I explicitly used the word "sanitized" to qualify 1950s norms. People hearken back to a 1950s that didn't exist when they make conservative claims about society.

    I can only speak from what I've read of conservative arguments, but conservatives don't see it as an issue of compassion (or fairness) but as an issue of maximizing stability in society. I believe Rauch points to the social expectation that gay couples may be committed but are expected NOT to marry presents a destructive role model to couples of all sexual orientations. In his view the social expectation that committed gay couples SHOULD marry removes the siren song of conveniently ended long term relationships.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    "I believe Rauch..."

    Rauch is one of those who promotes SSM while denying the link to polygamy. Good luck with that. It's people like Rauch (and neocons) who make me declare that I like conservatism, it's conservatives I can't stand.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    "I explicitly used the word "sanitized" to qualify 1950s norms. People hearken back to a 1950s that didn't exist when they make conservative claims about society."

    I think if you check out my archived statements, you will see me criticizing the ideals of 1950s domesticity, which put excessive limits on the wife's role in the household (eg, denying her role in educating the children).

  • Eduard van Haalen||

  • Marla Singer||

    Sure, like slippery slopes never happen. It's not a good enough argument against something, but it's intellectually dishonest to pretend that we never actually see that happen in real life.

  • Obese American||

    Leave it to libertarians to criticize a senator for finally agreeing with them. Unclean!

  • Eric||

    This is an inappropriate analogy...but would the world have welcomed Hitler back with open arms if in 1944, he suddenly decided that Jews were OK and repented his past rhetoric and actions?

    Portman's not just "a senator", but was also a cosponsor on the bill to ban SSM, and to deny gays the right to adopt. Now suddenly he's changed his stance only because he can now empathize since his son is gay? Fucking selfish asshole...even if he's now on the right side of this issue.

  • ||

    So, it has come to this. Now we are going to attack people for doing the right thing for the wrong reason?

    I'm Mr Principle. I get it. But shouting down people who are agreeing with you, ain't the right way to bring folks to the fold. Take every warm body you can. Welcome them, educate them and allow them to make their own decisions.

  • itsnotmeitsyou||

    I'm a bit disgusted by this line of thinking too, FdA. I think it should be viewed from a perspective of ignorance on Portman's part. Coming from a very religious family, I've seen the type of ignorance that makes them feel justified in calling gays "evil" or "damaged". Once Portman was forced to look at the situation and realize that he was being horrifically ignorant, he re-thought his position and came out in favor of SSM.

    Yeah, he might not share the libertarian views on the overarching subject of freedom, yet. But it's certainly a step in the right direction.

    I know I didn't just wake up one day and become a libertarian. Many of the views I held growing up were due to indoctrination and ignorance. It took a while to un-learn and re-learn everything I "knew" about the world.

  • ||

    Wouldn't it be better to take this person aside and explain to him that his decision, while being made upon emotion, happened to be the same one made by a principled person.

    He's going to be receptive, because it gives him one more reason to feel god about his decision. And maybe, just maybe, you can get him to make more decisions based on principle.

    Hearts and minds.

  • Eric||

    You're right, of course. Any movement in the correct direction by anyone should be encouraged. The official response should be in line with your comments. But my visceral response is much more cynical.

  • Proprietist||

    I just can't be cynical about this because I don't see what he gains from it. I'm sure the GOP is more favorable towards gay marriage than it used to be, but it's still a minority opinion, unlike in the Democratic Party. The cynic in me believes politicians do everything for politics, so this case I'll presume it's a genuine change of heart.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Just as a politician who learns that his son wants to be the chief grant-maker for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) undergoes a change of heart about the value of the NEA.

  • Proprietist||

    Not quite the same thing, but ok.

  • prolefeed||

    I don't think I'm gonna be quite this cynical. Ohio is a purple state, so this might be neutral for Portman in a general election. But he risks being primaried over this.

    Sometimes, the psychic cost of continuing to do something that you know your kids find reprehensible might outweigh the political cost.

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