Out of the closet

When I read that Senator Portman changed his mind and now supports gay marriage because his son told him that he is gay, I had a similar reaction to Kevin Drum’s:

But first reactions aren’t always right. I do wish conservatives could demonstrate a little empathy even for people and causes that don’t directly affect their own lives, but it’s not as if this is an exclusively conservative thing. It’s a human thing. Personal experience always touches us more deeply than facts and figures, and in the case of gay marriage we all knew this was how progress would be made. People would see gay characters on TV and shed a little bit of their discomfort. They’d learn that old friends are gay and decide they wanted to stay friends anyway. They’d learn their children are gay, and decide that they still wanted the best for them, even if that means supporting same-sex marriage.

We all knew this was how it would happen, slowly but steadily. We knew it. And now it’s happened to Rob Portman. It’s progress. It’s human. And I should be less churlish about it.

The reason Republicans go on so much about the ‘gay agenda’ is that they also know this. Gays are no different than anyone else and both sides realized that people will have no problem with them once they’re visible and it has happened–the percent who support gay marriage in the US has gone from 27% in 1996 to 53% last December and 73% of adults who are 18-29 support it. The last bastion of oppostion is among the religious conservatives and the Catholic Church has just said they’re not going to change that by electing a Pope who is very much against gay marriage.

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