I am very pleased that Sen. Rob Portman (R. Ohio) has changed his position regarding the fundamental right of people to marry the person that they love. He has shown that it is possible for someone's political and social stance to evolve toward equality. His new found belief that people of different sexual orientations should be treated equally is commendable.
As often happens, his position changed when he really stopped to think about what he was doing to other human beings. The event that prompted his reevaluation of his position was when one of his sons came out to him as a gay man. CBS News reports:
Portman told The Cincinnati Enquirer his evolution on the subject began in 2011 when his son, Will, then a freshman at Yale University, told his parents he was gay.
The love for a family member can do wonders, and both Will Portman and his father should be proud of their courage to evaluate and stand by the truth regardless of the potential consequences.
The problem, as Sen. Portman just demonstrated, is that oftentimes people haven't given any thought to the people that are being crushed under the laws that they pass. This has happened in state after state as well as the federal level.
Legislators and voters have been acting in destructive and inhumane ways against their family, friends, and neighbors. The question is: why? Why won't they take the time to look at the harm they are doing before their family members become collateral damage to their unexamined ideology. Perhaps it is fear, or religion, or maybe just being human that keeps some people from reflecting on the damage they are doing until it is too late.
Whatever the case, those that have been enlightened have a responsibility to others. It is out responsibility to help those that can be helped to see the discriminatory path that they are on and help them get on the path to equality. For those that can't be swayed from their anti-human path, it is our responsibility to challenge their bigotry at every turn.
It may not be right, but the burden is on us. The responsibility falls on our lap to engage those whose rhetoric flows from sleeping minds and turn them toward a path of equality.