Below is a large portion of the text from the article, “GOP senator reverses gay-marriage stance after son comes out,” (Yahoo News: The Ticket, March 15, 2013).
A prominent conservative senator said on Thursday that he now supports gay marriage.
Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, told reporters from the Columbus Dispatch and other Ohio newspapers that his change of heart on the hot-button issue came two years after his son, Will, told him and his wife that he is gay.
“It allowed me to think of this issue from a new perspective, and that’s of a Dad who loves his son a lot and wants him to have the same opportunities that his brother and sister would have—to have a relationship like Jane and I have had for over 26 years,” Portman said.
In an interview with CNN, Portman said his son, then a freshman at Yale University, told him “that he was gay, and that it was not a choice, and that it’s just part of who he is, and that he’d been that way for as long as he could remember….”
He also told CNN that he sought guidance from former Vice President Dick Cheney, whose daughter Mary is gay.
Portman said Cheney’s advice to him was simple: “Follow your heart.”
This report of Senator Portman’s reasoning on same sex marriage is so simplistic, it is almost unbelievable that we are entrusting this man to make decisions for our country. First, if his basis for a “new perspective” on a national issue with moral implications only considers a limited personal experience – Portman’s marriage – and a positive value judgment on it, then he is admitting that he cannot separate biased personal feelings from political decision-making. Yet he also is admitting that he has no objective basis for making decisions of this type or magnitude.
Second, if Portman believes his son has been “that way” since childhood, he is not able to discern the difference between the confused, private urgings of a child and the moral choices of an adult who chooses to participate in homosexual behavior. Yes, many members of the homosexual community claim to have had same-sex urgings for as long as they can remember – for almost as long as I have been African American – and that not by any choice of their own. However, I would hope a man who is responsible for participating in our democracy’s lawmaking would consider that if his son had spoken of his “way” to his parents when he a child, then he might have been able to help his son distinguish between immature confusion about primary age infatuation and what it means to be “gay.” Certainly Portman does not think his son desired to participate in acts of intercourse at the age of four. Instead, if the son had expressed his feelings and thoughts to dad at that age, and if the thoughts had been toward a four year old girl, Senator Portman probably would have thought, “That’s cute, son,” and not, “Son that’s a gross thought for someone your age!” He might have communicated to his son that it is natural to look at “the Little Red-Headed Girl,” as did Charlie Brown. But he would not have communicated, “Well son, it’s not too early for us to talk about safe sex.”
Third, are we to believe that one with Senator Portman’s stewardship makes decisions by following his heart alone, and that he sees this as wisdom? I will give the senator the benefit of the doubt: What Senator Portman means is that he should follow his heart once he is past his initial feelings of shock (and maybe even some feelings of disappointment, rejection, embarrassment, and anger). Otherwise he would have made a very impulsive, possibly regrettable, decision. I hope, however, that he would follow his mind also, before he makes a policy decision based on emotional and/or physical urgings alone. But it seems that the senator is going to follow in the train of his son, rather than lead our country intelligently, and with prudence.
I guess I should be grateful that Senator Portman’s son does not want to give military aid to North Korea or marry a warthog.
Related Resource: Relativism: Feet Planted Firmly in Mid-Air