Friday, March 15, 2013

Senator Rob Portman comes out for marriage equality

At first blush I thought it was cynical, Rob Portman suddenly discovering that same-sex marriage is something to be supported right after his son came out of the closet, but then I read his own words.

Their son announcing his sexuality sent Portman and his wife not into denial, but introspection, and the Senator did not flinch from acknowledging what he found.

I am particularly impressed with his reasoning as a Christian and a conservative: 

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.
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.
British Prime Minister David Cameron has said he supports allowing gay couples to marry because he is a conservative, not in spite of it. I feel the same way. We conservatives believe in personal liberty and minimal government interference in people’s lives. We also consider the family unit to be the fundamental building block of society. We should encourage people to make long-term commitments to each other and build families, so as to foster strong, stable communities and promote personal responsibility.
One way to look at it is that gay couples’ desire to marry doesn't amount to a threat but rather a tribute to marriage, and a potential source of renewed strength for the institution.
Thank you, Senator Portman.

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

No, thank YOU Senator Portman.

It is because of your change of heart, your support of those who identify as LGBT, and your courage to eschew the values of a party that you had previously identified with that I will now no longer vote or support the Republican party.

I prefer a party of conviction. A party of candidates who you now don't have to question their motives, agenda or values.

I now pledge my support to the Libertarian party.

Mr. Portman, you are a man of conviction.

Delaware Watch said...

Here is my perception. Conservatives tend to require being personally effected by a phenomenon to discover empathy for those who experience the phenomenon all of the time. While in one sense it doesn't matter how a person gets there as long as they do get there. But in another sense this tendency is a bit disturbing because it means that for many their empathy can only be engaged purely by chance.

Anonymous said...

Steve I have a question for you.
When are you going to come out of the closet? The reason for the inquiry is simple.
You like to talk alot about queers so logically one can conclude that you are a closet queer.
I know you will state that your married to a women.
But so was Rock Hudson. So come on Steve come out of the closet and and say how proud you are at being gay.

Steve Newton said...

Nice try, Jim.

Anonymous said...

Denial really doesn't become of you steve.
You can say it steve its ok to be gay.

pandora said...

Oh my, Steve. Your troll is quite something. And given recent studies...

"Negative attitude towards homosexuality is likely to be more pronounced among individuals who harbor unacknowledged attraction towards the same sex, and who grew up in conservative authoritarian households which forbade such desires, a series of psychology studies have found.

The study, which analyzed four separate experiments conducted in the US and Germany, provides empirical evidence to suggest that in some individuals homophobia is the external manifestation of repressed sexual desires they feel towards their own gender."


...perhaps he's protesting too much. Just sayin'

As far as Portman? What Dana said.

Hube said...

First of all, the perception that empathy is the exclusive domain of "progressives" (like that which the ultra-moonbat Delaware Douche posted today at the LGOMB) is just that -- a perception. After all, just b/c someone is against "marriage equality" doesn't mean they're not empathetic. (And that term is a loaded one anyway; why cannot one be for gays getting the exact same benefits of traditional marriage via civil unions and be for "marriage equality?")

Most religious folks I know that are against gay marriage are VERY empathetic. And speaking of Delaware Douche, how can he claim, for example, exclusive domain over empathy when he shows absolutely none for those who merely disagree w/him politically? Does not empathy encompass pure difference of opinion?

Delaware Watch said...

If empathy were merely a "perception," then it would be impossible to measure it for the purposes of studying it and it would have little evolutionary value to figure prominently in evolutionary theory.

I also don't know in what sense one can be said to be empathetic to homosexuals who want to *marry* but reject marriage equality but merely favor civil unions. That is not being empathetic to what they want (which others get to enjoy). It's an insistence that they settle for something lesser.

I see no reason for empathetic people to be empathetic to views that are clearly antisocial. They can and are empathetic to the right to hold such views. But, for example, to be empathetic to the views of neonazis, KKK members, and those who support policies that would result in starvation would be irresponsible. No one has held that empathy is unconditional. Only the concept of agape presents itself as unconditional regard. Empathy, however, is a high regard for those who suffer need. It has nothing to do with ratifying hatred.

Steve Newton said...

Dana I have trouble with your definition of empathy here

Empathy, however, is a high regard for those who suffer need.

It seems to me that empathy is better defined as the ability to understand and share the feelings of others.

I need not have a high regard for them to have empathy, nor must they be "in need" as you describe it to qualify as recipients of empathy.

I would suggest that you are offering a progressive re-definition of empathy to fit your particular political preferences. I also think most people do this.

It is also possible to feel empathy for someone in need or pain, but recognize rationally that either (a) they caused their own pain or that (b) experiencing such pain may be necessary for positive change. [The case of an alcoholic comes to mind here.]

In that particular instance (and in others) acting on empathy without thinking the process through rationally is often one of the worst things you can do.

Anonymous said...

Pandora- You sound like one of those butthurt kind of people... So the point you tried to make stands mute.

Thank you your dismissed.

Dana Garrett said...

The truth is that empathy has many definitions and there is some debate about how to define it. My definition is a kind of hybrid culled from studies and results of studies I have read on the subject. In any case, my definition is in accord with "empathetic concern," which some distinguish from empathy proper and others do not. But let's agree to this. My definition is no more a reflection of my political beliefs than your rejection and reading of my definition is a reflection of your political beliefs. Making such a case would be a facile accomplishment for the both of us.

Now let's look at your definition: "empathy is better defined as the ability to understand and share the feelings of others." First of all, "share" is ambiguous. Do you mean can imagine yourself in or what it would be like to experience a similar state of affairs? Agree with? Could articulate the feelings accurately? And why is understanding someone's feelings such a distinctive accomplishment--distinguished, say, from understanding any proposition, even those that don't require an empathetic response?

Now this: "It is also possible to feel empathy for someone in need or pain, but recognize rationally that either (a) they caused their own pain or that (b) experiencing such pain may be necessary for positive change. [The case of an alcoholic comes to mind here.]"

Nothing I said prohibits either a or b. In fact, having a high regard for someone's need in some cases might require assisting the person to take responsibility for his or her situation (assuming they are ready for such a discovery) and to respond with "tough love" in some fashion.

You write "in that particular instance (and in others) acting on empathy without thinking the process through rationally is often one of the worst things you can do."

I don't disagree in principle. But I want to state that merely assessing the situation rationally is irrational if the situation also requires responding with other needed human capacities that are just as pervasive (if not more so)than reason, like feelings, providing love and nurture, securing someone's basic needs for survival, reinforcement for ameliorative behavior, etc.

Steve Newton said...

Dana

I do want to continue this, but today, while I have empathy I don't have time! :)

I will try tomorrow ...

Dana Garrett said...

LOL. Take your time.

Hube said...

If empathy were merely a "perception,"

I didn't say empathy was a perception, I was commenting on what your perception of it is, at least as it pertains to conservatives.

I'd also suggest you reread what I wrote about gay marriage and civil unions. Nothing in what I wrote suggests something "lesser" other than the actual label.

But, for example, to be empathetic to the views of ... and those who support policies that would result in starvation would be irresponsible.

And this is the sort of nonsense (no offense, since you're nowhere near what DD is, Dana) that I was referring to when I invoked DD's name. IOW, Steve nailed it in his follow-up comment. It's a convenient way to thwart debate/discussion because you deem your opponent "bad."

Dana Garrett said...

"I didn't say empathy was a perception, I was commenting on what your perception of it is, at least as it pertains to conservatives" You are right. You didn't. I misread you. My bad. I apologize.

"I'd also suggest you reread what I wrote about gay marriage and civil unions. Nothing in what I wrote suggests something "lesser" other than the actual label." I did reread this as you suggested and I'm afraid I must stand by my original assessment because you wrote: "why cannot one be for gays getting the exact same benefits of traditional marriage via civil unions and be for "marriage equality?" I don't see how only supporting civil unions but not marriage for homosexuals = marriage equality. Some homosexual people want legally recognized marriage. The term is important to them for a perfectly understandable reason: they don't want to live with stigma of being branded with a differentiating term and language that marks them out as a different class of people. It would be equivalent to a school, which although it opposes segregation, classifying all the white kids "students" but the African American kids "entitlement placements." The difference is demeaning. Not to recognize that is unempathetic.

I wrote "But, for example, to be empathetic to the views of ... and those who support policies that would result in starvation would be irresponsible." To which you responded, "And this is the sort of nonsense (no offense, since you're nowhere near what DD is, Dana) that I was referring to when I invoked DD's name. IOW, Steve nailed it in his follow-up comment. It's a convenient way to thwart debate/discussion because you deem your opponent 'bad.'"

I plead guilty...proudly. I do think it is unempathetic and "bad" not to respond (if one can) to starving people. Yes, I consider that a conversation stopper because the "do nothing" or "it's their own fault" arguments should not be on the conversation/negotiating table just as they never should have been for the victims of the holocaust during WW2.