Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Hillary Clinton, Rob Portman Latest Pols In Support of Same-Sex Marriage

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In the last week, two prominent politicians have come out in favor of same-sex marriage — one, of course, being far more prominent than the other.

The latter person is former Secretary of State, Senator and First Lady, Hillary R. Clinton, who today endorsed same-sex marriage with a video put out by the Human Rights Campaign, while the former is Republican Senator Rob Portman of Ohio.  Portman said his main reason for changing his stance from firm opposition to firm support is his son — who has told him he’s gay, and wants full rights to marry any partner he may take in the future.

This article from PennLive points out how difficult it’s been for Portman, the only Republican Senator in open support of gay marriage, since he’s made his stance public last week.  And despite such well-known Republicans as former Vice President Dick Cheney and former Sec. of State Colin Powell also being in support of same-sex marriage, it’s far more easy for a Democrat like Mrs. Clinton or sitting President Obama to admit that he or she supports same-sex marriage than it is for any active Republican officeholder.

Why is this?

PennLive points out that Portman said:

Portman said his previous views on marriage were rooted in his Methodist faith. However, he wrote, “Ultimately, for me, it came down to the Bible’s overarching themes of love and compassion and my belief that we are all children of God.”

Yet most Republican leaders apparently met this with either stony silence or, as PennLive’s article put it, “a shrug,” while Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner actually told ABC’s This Week that he’d oppose gay marriage even if his own son was gay.

It’s hard to see this particular comment as anything except a slam against Senator Portman.

Fortunately, it’s not as difficult for a well-known Democrat to let it be known she is in favor of marriage equality.

Mrs. Clinton said that her work at the State Department, including the signing of measures meant to protect long-term same-sex couples, made her reconsider her beliefs (best paraphrase from her video for the HRC, which is available via PennLive).  That’s why she, too, has now come out in full support of same-sex marriage.

And, thus far, the Democratic (or democratic-leaning) talking heads on both MSNBC and CNN seem in full support of Mrs. Clinton’s stance, which is not a surprise.  The titular head of the party is the President, who is also in support of same-sex marriage (though perhaps less wholeheartedly than Mrs. Clinton).

So, on the one hand we have the Republican Party, which doesn’t seem to want to budge except for a few brave individuals like Senator Portman and several retired Republicans like Cheney and Powell.  And on the other, we have the Democratic Party, which has an openly lesbian sitting Senator (Wisconsin’s own Tammy Baldwin), and has embraced advocacy of same-sex marriage as a human rights issue.

Which, to my mind, it is.

Look.  This is an issue that everyone should get behind, but it may be impossible for some older Americans to fully understand.  Nevertheless, if two people want to marry, and both are consenting adults, the state should allow them to marry.  Not stand in their way.

And as far as the religious objections go, we have separation of church and state in our Constitution for a reason — which is why individual churches may still say no to same-sex marriage without penalty.

But it’s also why our country, as a whole, should say yes.

On a personal note, I’m very pleased that Senator Portman has been willing to publicly admit that his stance has changed.  This makes me believe there’s at least some hope for the Republican Party to stop making marriage equality a partisan issue — despite well-known obstructionists such as Speaker Boehner.

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Written by Barb Caffrey

March 18, 2013 at 5:16 pm

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