CPAC | Discrimination | Gay Marriage | News | Rob Portman

CPAC Attendees Blast Sen. Portman For Loving His Gay Son: VIDEO


While we're on the subject of CPAC and closed minds, ThinkProgress made the rounds at the conservative con-fab yesterday to gauge attendees' reaction to news that GOP Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio supports marriage equality because he wants his gay son to have the same rights as heterosexual couples.

So, what was the reaction? Not good. One man, a pastor, even said the Senator should "quit being so selfish as to only think about his son." Because, you know, restricting an entire population's rights because of personal religious beliefs is so selfless. And grown men dressed like 18th Century colonists make great moral guides.

Watch the clip AFTER THE JUMP.

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  1. His being a senator is about all of his constituents, not just his son.

    Yes, it's great he's now supporting equality, but it's a selfish reason none the less. There has to be a deep reflection that has no personal gain to get my "hero" status placed upon someone changing their mind. It was this kind of deep self-reflection and taking into consideration the plight of others WITHOUT any personal gain that brought about the first wave of civil rights. Imagine if this were the case then. How would a bunch of white men have made the decision to vote for civil rights for all? How could it have been a personal reason then that directly affected them or an immediate loved one? From this perspective, it becomes clear that although his stance is a nice change for equality, it is gained only for himself and his immediate family; not the American people or constitution he swore to uphold.

    Posted by: zack | Mar 15, 2013 8:58:39 PM

    Posted by: beef and fur | Mar 16, 2013 2:31:58 PM

  2. It took him two years after his son came out - but it only took him a few months after he was no longer under consideration for the VP slot on Romney's ticket.

    Posted by: distinguetraces | Mar 15, 2013 9:16:05 PM

    Posted by: beef and fur | Mar 16, 2013 2:32:46 PM

  3. beef & fur sounds like Andrew. Andrew is a poster who in the past revealed that he wishes gay marriage will never be embraced by the Republican Party because he values the democrat party more than gay marriage, due to that fears with the embracing of gay rights by Republicans, they can't always be portrayed as the hate miners they often can be. Thus, taking LGBT votes from The Democrat party. You see, for people like Andrew/beef & fur, this argument has nothing to do with their support or care for our rights and everything to do with their campaign against republicans, overlooking the fact that most HEALTHY minded LGBt don't care about how we get gay marriage support so long as we get it, regardless of party affiliation. It's a human rights issue. But for folks like beef & fur they want to play mind games and pretend they are so concerned about gay people. Just read his emotional outbursts about gays in previous posts to see how much he actually (doesn't) care about us.

    Posted by: Pageant Polley | Mar 16, 2013 2:32:52 PM

  4. I just don't agree with this. I found Richard Lawson's comments more in line with my thinking: "Rob Portman's sudden conversion perfectly illustrates the flippant, careless cruelty of the positions he once held. Until gayness in all its complexity and simplicity was staring him right in the face, in the shape of a person he helped create, Portman ultimately did not care about any of the country's gay people. He did not value their love, or the love they might have for their children. He didn't think them deserving of simple rights because he figured their relationships inferior to his own. Who knows how vehement his beliefs actually were, but really that doesn't much matter in the end. And really, if his stances on gay issues were for mere political gain rather than bedrock ideology, that makes it all the worse. In that case, gay people did not even deserve passion in the negative; their causes, their lives really, were meaningless to him, easily dismissed for the sake of political expediency. That's a pretty dark way to behave when you actually stop to think about it."

    Posted by: Jeff Kurtti | Mar 15, 2013 9:28:21 PM

    Posted by: beef and fur | Mar 16, 2013 2:33:05 PM

  5. Why I welcome him to the side of the equitable and enlightened, I don't embrace a man who is so shallow and unempathetic to others that something has to happen to him for him to even consider changing. I applaud his son...that is bravery being raised in the environment he was apparently raised, but Rob Portman's "evolution" is the product of selfishness and opportunity, not of a change of heart at examining the facts. You can laud a snake for eating the rats in your yard but it is still a snake.

    Posted by: Bart | Mar 15, 2013 9:40:36 PM

    Posted by: beef and fur | Mar 16, 2013 2:33:26 PM

  6. Sorry, but Rob Portman isn't some God now that he said "I'm for gay marriage, because my son is gay." Let's get real. It's an insult to legitimate straight allies who have no skin in the game and simply are pro-equality. And straight allies in general, who are actually DOING something for our rights. A lot of gay folk don't know what a true supporter is, because there are many people who say they support our rights or say they "don't care" who is gay, yet when push comes to shove they aren't doing anything to help our community and are apathetic at best. Someone who says they're for equality but does nothing to advance it and believes companies should fire LGBTQ employees if they want is not a supporter of the community. People act like Rob Portman has become a LGBTQ advocate. He specifically said he wasn't going to make an issue of it at all.

    If he would speak out against the gay bashing in his party then I'd give him tons of praise. In this situation, his son Will clearly deserves all the credit. Rob deserves respect for making this statement and doing so publicly. But lets temper things and be realistic.

    Posted by: Francis | Mar 15, 2013 10:53:03 PM

    Posted by: beef and fur | Mar 16, 2013 2:34:37 PM

  7. Sorry, I think he's a scumbag. He showed no empathy until he had to, when the issue was within his own home. A better measure of character is how a person treats people he has no connection to other than common humanity. Stop treating this jerk like a hero. He's not.

    Posted by: Phil | Mar 16, 2013 12:24:19 AM

    Posted by: beef and fur | Mar 16, 2013 2:35:01 PM

  8. I'm very glad that Senator Portman supports his son. That's all it is. I'm not going to sing his praises just because he supports his son. The issue wasn't important enough to him before his son came out. When it didn't affect him, discrimination didn't matter. Bullying people from the political pulpit didn't matter. Hurting people that were trying to take care of each other didn't matter. Putting down people he hated didn't matter until he had a personal stake in the issue, then all of a sudden it mattered. Typical Republican attitude. It's just like they all want to cut off unemployment benefits, until they or someone they know needs it. He has a lot of apologizing to do not to his son, but to all of us for his years of bashing us. Yeah, your damn right I'm bitter. Decades of being treated like a second class citizen gives me the right to be bitter against these self-serving jerks who suddenly have a revelation. Whatever.

    Posted by: Brad | Mar 16, 2013 2:01:48 AM

    Posted by: beef and fur | Mar 16, 2013 2:35:19 PM

  9. While i wholeheartedly agree that when it comes to Republicans we need to lower our standards, the reality is this: we're celebrating and cheering because a man is doing what all parents should just simply DO, and what (yeah, i'm going there) most liberal-leaning people already do, without expecting to be lauded for it.

    a man ....supports his son. what a stunning thing.
    well, as i said earlier, it's a stunning thing for a Republican. liberals? they've already been supporting marriage equality, even if they don't have gay children of their own.

    "But if Portman can turn around on one issue once he realizes how it touches his family personally, shouldn't he take some time to think about how he might feel about other issues that don't happen to touch him personally?"

    from Slate. this is the thing - i'm not saying "this is bad news" it's just such an indicator of all that is wrong with the GOP that we have people celebrating in the streets and in papers all over the country because finally a republican senator is ...what? doing what he' supposed to do as a father?
    well, GREAT. like i said, when your expectations are that low this seems like a great big deal.

    timeline - son comes out two years ago. dad takes two years to realize that maybe it's wrong to discriminate against his son? again - i understand that for a conservative and anti-gay man this is rather speedy.

    does this mean i'm a miserable liberal who doesn't want his support? no. anyone who finally makes the great mental leap from the dark ages is a good thing. but this man has work to do, and for him it will be particularly ironic:
    He needs to now set out to achieve what he previously was unable or unwilling to do - care, for the first time, about the lives and plights of those Who Are Not Related To Him.

    and time for he and other republicans to ask themselves now, not just "what if my kid is gay?", but "what if my child is transgendered?" - or as other journalists have been saying/joking "what if my child was poor or a minimum-wage making employee?"

    if the GOP only changes their stance when something directly happens within their own family, i think folks need to question their ability to, you know, serve constituents and have any ability to put themselves in another's shoes when talking to Their People. bluntly: waiting for every GOP leader to have a gay kid that comes out will mean another few decades of slow progress.

    so, portman, glad you've grown a heart on this issue. now imagine a great big list of other things your son could have Come Out to you as, and start thinking of a way to get your fellow Republicans on board.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Mar 16, 2013 8:32:43 AM

    Posted by: beef and fur | Mar 16, 2013 2:36:24 PM

  10. I don't really care about the opinions of 4 senior citizens...however, I would like to car bomb that convention.

    Posted by: Kyle | Mar 16, 2013 2:36:26 PM

  11. Waldman's selective analysis is showing again. He says that Portman is "neither heroic nor brave," considering "how long it took him, the fact that he needed to be personally invested before supporting gay equality, and that he seems to have needed more persuading beyond the mere fact of his son's sexuality." Yet Waldman constantly calls Obama brave and heroic and a fierce ally for his current support of Gay marriage, despite the fact that Obama opposed Gay marriage for most of his life and administration, personally enforced discrimination against Gays during most of his administration, still enforces discrimination against Gays and doesn't use his power to enable or enact Gay equality, and only changed his Gay marriage stance because 1) he stood to gain politically, and 2) he was embarrassed that he was on the wrong side of history, which he was.

    Waldman is as bad as the people he criticizes.

    Posted by: James E. Pietrangelo, II | Mar 16, 2013 12:53:33 PM

    Posted by: beef and fur | Mar 16, 2013 2:37:35 PM

  12. @Steve Johansen
    In answer to your question: why should ANY person who was formerly and actively against gay marriage ever come out in support of it when you are saying you won't accept it?
    Answer: Because we ALL deserve respect and civil rights and first-class citizenship just as they enjoy them and it's the right thing to do, and not because suddenly it's an issue that affects you or your loved ones.

    Those of you willing to make this man a hero of the gay civil rights movement and calling those who see the truth "bitter" miss the point entirely. When we fall down and kiss the feet of people like this who use our personal civil rights in such a self-serving way without apology for all the hurt they've done, we demean ourselves. Demanding an apology from this man is not unreasonable. He didn't even (and still doesn't) have the compassion for our community enough to support us without his son. He doesn't get a pass because he just now only partially supports our civil rights because he's learned his son is gay. Senator Portman is not an ally until he really and truly supports our movement instead of just supporting it because his son is gay. He only came out in public support 2 YEARS after his son came out as gay and when he was no longer in the political spotlight for VP on the Romney ticket. I'm not impressed with his evolution anymore than I'm impressed with Obama's less than enthusiastic support.

    Posted by: Brad | Mar 16, 2013 1:40:05 PM

    Posted by: beef and fur | Mar 16, 2013 2:38:02 PM

  13. He supports the right of his son to beg the public to vote for SSM in public referenda.

    Big whoop.

    AFTER his son came out, Portman continued and CONTINUES to oppose ENDA. Now, you might say that's a libertarian position, but he DOES SUPPORT increased protections for religious objectors to SSM. That is NOT libertarian.

    Portman opposes all gay rights and just hopes that his son will find happiness in a blue state.

    Welcome him with open arms? Heck, I doubt I'd shake his hand.

    Posted by: BobN | Mar 16, 2013 2:29:57 PM

    Posted by: beef and fur | Mar 16, 2013 2:38:19 PM

  14. On one hand, I guess we should all be happy about this announcement in that it drives another stake into the anti-gay lobby. On the other hand, it's dismaying that politicians (of all stripes) seem to require a personal investment into an issue to do what's right. If our leaders simply put logic and justice over their own selfish politicking, gay marriage wouldn't be an issue at all.

    Posted by: ace1981 | Mar 15, 2013 12:53:54 PM

    Posted by: beef and fur | Mar 16, 2013 2:40:11 PM

  15. On one hand, I guess we should all be happy about this announcement in that it drives another stake into the anti-gay lobby. On the other hand, it's dismaying that politicians (of all stripes) seem to require a personal investment into an issue to do what's right. If our leaders simply put logic and justice over their own selfish politicking, gay marriage wouldn't be an issue at all.

    Posted by: ace1981 | Mar 15, 2013 12:53:54 PM

    Posted by: beef and fur | Mar 16, 2013 2:40:11 PM

  16. Ugh, big deal. The only time Republicans "evolve" on the issue is when they retire or if they have a gay kid. Even the Republicans are willing to give transgressors a pass on the matter if they don't squawk too much about it while in office.

    But that's it. The rest end up like the unfortunate head of the Illinois Republican party who nearly lost his job for supporting equality and three state senators run out of office in New York for voting their conscious and not the party line. Trust me, Portman would still be a jackass on the issue if not for his kid.

    Posted by: Ozu | Mar 15, 2013 12:58:11 PM

    Posted by: beef and fur | Mar 16, 2013 2:40:33 PM

  17. it should be the other way around. Dad should be saying "I'm astounded at the strength of my own son to Come Out to me despite my longstanding oppositing to LGBT people and their rights to equality and fair treatment. I can't even fathom how hard his life must have been spending more than 20 years knowing his family and his family's chosen political affiliates consider him a second-class citizen"

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Mar 15, 2013 1:05:08 PM

    Posted by: beef and fur | Mar 16, 2013 2:40:49 PM

  18. Your dad is a jerk who forgets he has constituents.

    I'm doing a slow burn on this . ... and sorry, Will ... though I'm glad your dad had this particular revelation and is seemingly cool with your being gay, his selfishness in only coming to this conclusion when it affects him personally makes him an utter failure as a public representative - and doubly so as a U.S. Senator, the second highest elected public office one can hold. He's pathetic and should retire in shame. That does not mean he's a bad dad, but he's disgraceful as a senator.

    Posted by: Zlick | Mar 15, 2013 1:54:10 PM

    Posted by: beef and fur | Mar 16, 2013 2:41:32 PM

  19. For those of you who don't understand the negative comments, my straight married sister from Ohio called the revelation this morning "GALLING". How dare he bring his son into it? As a public servant, you can say you have evolved, fine. But your son came out two years ago. You were being offered the Vice-Presidency candidacy a few months ago. We can do the math, Senator Portman.
    I don't consider the commenters here bitter, victimized, or negative. They are self-realized, honest, empathic men, speaking the truth. We say thanks to elder Portman for his support, and to his son for coming out. But we don't ignore the context. Compassionate conservatives need to rethink their positions, or at least their adjectives.

    Posted by: Shane | Mar 15, 2013 7:43:40 PM

    Posted by: beef and fur | Mar 16, 2013 2:42:23 PM

  20. I suppose I should feel good about his change of heart but maybe he should have been more empathetic, considering he represents a large number of people, without having had his son come out to him, now that it's personal he's for gay marriage but before he couldn't see that he was a homophobe.

    Posted by: lk | Mar 15, 2013 7:15:50 AM

    Posted by: beef and fur | Mar 16, 2013 2:43:40 PM

  21. So, let me get this straight...if his son had not come out as being gay, he would still be against gays getting married and that families that have gay children would still be fighting him and his party? I am glad he 'converted', however, would have been more appreciative and more substantial if he had done this without knowing his son was gay.

    Posted by: CB | Mar 15, 2013 7:39:43 AM

    Posted by: beef and fur | Mar 16, 2013 2:43:58 PM

  22. Good grief, it's a bit soon to be fawning over the man as being "a lovely, flexible man capable of change." HIs votes have been 100% anti-gay, and he STILL thinks employers should be able to fire you for being gay rather than risk being "uncomfortable." It's a good thing and more power to his son for affecting the change, but let's not blow the guy.

    Posted by: Matthew Rettenmund | Mar 15, 2013 7:50:44 AM

    Posted by: beef and fur | Mar 16, 2013 2:44:11 PM

  23. Am I supposed to pop a bottle of champagne because this lunkhead finally woke up to the excruciating illness of homophobia? Does EVERYONE have to have a gay child to suddenly realize the complete wrongness and harm caused by such blind hatred? I'm not Black and I'm not a dwarf and I'm not obese, etc., etc. -- and somehow I KNOW anyone who happens to be so is my equal in every way. You don't get medals for simply doing the right thing!

    Posted by: Bill | Mar 15, 2013 8:48:33 AM

    Posted by: beef and fur | Mar 16, 2013 2:44:48 PM

  24. This is great progress, and we should definitely accept it, and we should definitely accept and support his vote.

    But let's be honest about what kind of progress it is, and not overstate it.

    It's huge that a sitting Republican feels he can publicly change his stance on gay rights because of his own son, rather than disown the son publicly or privately and refuse to discuss the issue, or worse, feel the need to double down on the hate to prove his own "virtue."

    That's wonderful. It may eventually turn into support. He may actually turn into an ally. At least, he's stepping out of the way, and anything that shatters the GOP monolithic voting block is good news.

    But at the same time, there's no indication that he's suddenly become empathetic, or cares about us, or that he wouldn't still be a raging homophobe if his son hadn't come out, and we shouldn't pretend he is. This is as much self-interest and the same sort of crap we see from Republicans all the the time as it is any sign of a real change of heart or a sign that Republicans are getting the message.

    This is "Oh, my God, I just realized this might actually affect real people." That's progress, yes, but let's not nominate the man for sainthood just yet.

    Posted by: Lymis | Mar 15, 2013 8:51:07 AM

    Posted by: beef and fur | Mar 16, 2013 2:45:03 PM

  25. beef & fur, for someone who doesn't want to walk in lockstep with everyone you sure can't formulate your own opinion without copy/paste the opinions of pathetic, and lame, and sad.

    Posted by: John-505 | Mar 16, 2013 2:45:52 PM

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