On Saturday I posted about Ohio Senator Robert Portman (R-OH) and his recent change of heart regarding the issue of same-sex marriage, which only occurred because his son came out of the closet back in 2011. Some, like myself, praised the move – even with the caveat that such realizations would be nice if it didn’t have such selfish motives attached to them. Still, it’s nice to see the positive effects of a little empathy.
Others called him a sellout for basically the same reasons … which I can understand too. I mean, they do have a point in that he wouldn’t have made this switch if it was someone else’s son who were gay. Maybe it’s completely self-serving. On the other hand, this entire thing might have actually forced him to do some introspection and come to a true change of heart on the matter. Only he will ever know the answer to that.
Still, even with all of this noise about Portman, it’s reassuring to know after this Sunday’s “Meet the Press” that some of the more influential members of Congress would still want their children to be treated as second-class citizens if they come out as homosexual or bisexual. Late last week Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-KS) was asked by ThinkProgress whether his position on same sex marriage would change if his son came out, and all he did was give the canned party line on “traditional” marriage without saying either yes or no.
KEYES: Do you have a sense on, if it were your son who came out and told you that he was gay, how you would react to that announcement?
HUELSKAMP: Well, I agree with Sen. Portman when he ran for election. And that’s the principle. The principle is, traditional marriage and family is the foundation of society. It’s been a conservative bedrock principle for many years. And one thing that we have to do as conservatives, I believe, is actually communicate the value of marriage and family for the children. [...] Bill Clinton and myself, Bill Clinton in 1997 had the same position I have today. Actually Barack Obama had the same position two years ago. Isn’t it amazing how you read the tea leaves, you read the polls, and at the end of the day something suddenly changes over night?
KEYES: So, to clarify, you would still oppose same-sex marriage even if your own son came out?
HUELSKAMP: I support traditional marriage.
Then there’s John Boehner. On Sunday he was on ABC’s This Week, and answered essentially the same question:
MARTHA RADDATZ (HOST): Can you imagine yourself in a situation where you reversed your decision as Portman has on gay marriage if a child of yours or someone you love told you they were gay.
BOEHNER: Listen, I believe marriage is a union between one man and one woman. It’s what I grew up with, it’s what i believe, it’s what my church teaches me and I can’t imagine that position would ever change.
Way to depersonalize it. I guess that’s the intent … if you can answer a question like that in a way that removes any kind of personal perspective, it’s easier to take a position that would end up doing harm to even those close to you. Again, I wonder what he would really do if the situation presented itself.
And another thing … “it’s what the church teaches me”?? Seriously, I’ve never heard a more compelling reason to use the old “if everyone else jumped off a cliff, would you do it too?” line every single mother in the world has used on their kids at one point or another. It’s nothing more than an appeal to authority with a heaping helping of intellectual laziness to boot. Just because the church teaches you something is right or wrong doesn’t mean you should shut off your brain, refuse any other input, and simply accept it as fact without applying any additional thought or consideration to it. Considering the homogeneity of GOP ideology relative to the DNC, I shouldn’t be surprised that this is the general response.