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Would Portman’s Presidential Candidacy Create a Nightmare Scenario for the GOP?

Thursday, July 10th, 2014

Ohio Senator Rob PortmanSo Ohio Senator Rob Portman is considering a run for president, and he claims his support for gay marriage would be a plus in a general election, allowing Republicans to make an economic case to key demographics that are culturally resistant to the GOP. “You can’t become a national party unless you do a better job reaching those between 18 and 30,” Portman says.

This raises the possibility of a scenario that Republicans who agree with Portman — and believe the party must evolve on gay marriage to stay in step with the country’s cultural and demographic shifts — might want to start worrying about right about now.

It’s not hard to imagine that Senator Ted Cruz might make precisely the opposite case from Portman, making the case that the party must reaffirm its support for “traditional marriage” key to his GOP presidential primary run. This could come after the Supreme Court has declared a Constitutional right to gay marriage — which Cruz would then be vociferously calling on Republicans to help roll back.

Authored By Greg Sargent – See the Full Story at The Washington Post

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Ohio, USA: Senator Rob Portman’s Endorsement of Marriage Equality Stirs Up a Hornet’s Nest

Monday, March 18th, 2013

Ohio Senator Rob PortmanI don’t think we appreciated what a big deal it was when Senator Rob Portman endorsed marriage equality late last week. For one, he was actually a co-sponsor of DOMA. For another, he was the first sitting US GOP Senator to support gay marriage. And finally, his announcement has stirred up a bit of a firestorm of ongoing reactions from the right.

See our reporting on earlier reactions here, here, and here.

Today, there’s more. We’ll start with sad old Senator John McCain, who has fallen so far in recent years. As Dot429 reports, he continues his hard line on marriage equality, even though his wife and daughter disagree with him:

McCain told CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Friday that the country would not see him change his mind, as the issue is at odds with his beliefs. “I respect anyone else’s decision and we all learn in life and grow and mature. I have changed my position on other issues in my life, but on this one, I had not contemplated changing my position,” he said.

Another failed presidential candidate chimes in – Towleroad.com reports that Rick Santorum thinks gay marriage is still unnatural, Rob Portman’s evolution notwithstanding:

“Well I’m not changing my opinion on that issue. The bottom line is that marriage is a foundational institutution of our society and one that we need to encourage for the benefit of our children and for the future of our society. Marriage is a thing of nature. Men and women come together and form the bond by which to raise the next generation. No other relationship – you can call it marriage – but no other relationship accomplishes what real marriage accomplishes.”

And Brad Knickerbocker at the Christian Science Monitor wonders if the future of the GOP is tied to marriage equality:

The extent to which it can attract young, Hispanic, and women voters now more likely to vote Democrat, how quickly the economy recovers (and who is given credit or blame, House Republicans or the White House), perceptions about the party’s concern for middle class and working class Americans – “the 47 percent” Mitt Romney disastrously derided during the presidential campaign. But one issue is becoming increasingly important: same-sex marriage. There’s a clear difference of opinion between younger and older voters, between younger and older elected Republicans, and certainly between social conservatives (in recent decades a key part of the GOP base) and those who confess to libertarian tendencies.

Who will be next in the GOP to embrace marriage equality?

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USA: GOP Politicians Slam Senator Rob Portman for Marriage Equality Stance

Sunday, March 17th, 2013

Ohio Senator Rob PortmanSo much for civility under the ever-shrinking republican Big Tent. A Kansas representative, Tim Huelskamp, slammed Senator Rob Portman for endorsing marriage equality after his son came out as gay. Think Progress reports:

Speaking in a sideroom, Huelskamp blasted Portman’s announcement this week that he has evolved to favor same-sex marriage two years after learning his own son was gay. “Here’s a senator who couldn’t deliver his own home state in the presidential election,” Huelskamp said dismissively. He continued, “somehow, we’re supposed to believe that if we abandon traditional marriage, that liberals are going to flock to us,” calling Portman’s position a “capitulation.”

Speaking of incivility, a “Christian” PAC told Senator Portman his son would die of AIDS. On Top Magazine reports:

The Christian conservative Government Is Not God PAC has warned Ohio Senator Rob Portman that his gay son may die of AIDS… The group warned Portman in a blog post that he was “accepting a behavior that may eventually kill his son from AIDS, other sexually transmitted diseases, or oral cancer.” “Homosexual sex is ultimately just as destructive as cocaine use. Would Portman suddenly call for the legalization of cocaine if his son had announced that he was a cocaine addict? Would that be ‘loving’ and ‘compassionate’?”

Sorry for my french, but the only appropriate response to this kind of bile is Fuck You.

House Speaker John Boehner, he of the orange complexion and always-ready tears, shed no tears over this one. Think Progress reports:

MARTHA RADDATZ (HOST): Can you imagine yourself in a situation where you reversed your decision as Portman has on gay marriage if a child of yours or someone you love told you they were gay.

BOEHNER: Listen, I believe marriage is a union between one man and one woman. It’s what I grew up with, it’s what i belive, it’s what my church teaches me and I can’t imagine that position would ever change.

Newt Gingrich isn’t moved by Senator Portman’s change of heart, either. Gay Star News reports:

‘I’m not going to second guess Rob Portman,’ said to the cable news channel CNN (as reported by Politico). ‘He’s an old personal friend. I think when you have somebody in your immediate family who comes in, you have three choices: You can say say, “I believe my principles so much, I’m kicking you out.” You can say say, “I still believe in my principles, but I love you.” Or you can say, “Gee, I love you so much I’m changing my principles,”‘ Gingrich said.

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, not one to run from far-right positions, seemed to admit to host David Gregory that the GOP can’t continue to oppose marriage equality indefinitely. Think Progress reports:

GREGORY: Are younger conservatives more apt to see marriage equality as something that is, you know, what they believe, that is basic rather than as a disqualifying issue?

WALKER: I think there’s no doubt about that. But I think that’s all the more reason, when I talk about things, I talk about the economic and fiscal crises in our state and in our country, that’s what people want to resonate about. They don’t want to get focused on those issues.

NPR wonders if this is the beginning of the end of GOP opposition to marriage equality:

“Portman is politically conservative, but he’s never come across as an ideologue,” said Kyle Kondik, a political analyst and former Ohioan who characterized the senator, a former Bush administration budget official who was on Mitt Romney’s short list for vice president, as “an insider politician.” “This is probably just the tip of the spear; we’re going to see more of this,” said Kondik, at the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics. “He’s the first Republican senator who supports gay marriage, and he certainly won’t be the last.”

The Washington Post has similar thoughts, comparing it to the way Democrats dealt with gun control from the 90’s until now:

In the mid 1990s, Democratic leaders — up to and including Bill Clinton — simply stopped talking about guns and gun control. That didn’t mean that a sizable portion of the Democratic base stopped caring about the issue; they did and still wanted more and stricter gun control measures. But the politicians in the party recognized that the broader public was simply not on their side on the issue and, in order to win elections, they needed to de-emphasize it. They didn’t abandon their past positions, they just stopped talking about it. Entirely. A look at gay marriage polling broken down by party identification suggests something similar is likely to happen on this issue for Republicans.

And Politico noted the relative silence on the topic at CPAC:

And the relative silence on the main stage of the Conservative Political Action Conference also says something about the country’s shift on the issue: Same-sex marriage is no longer the winning issue it was for the GOP less than a decade ago, when George W. Bush was running for re-election and a generation of younger voters had not yet come of age. Long a motivator of the Republican base, the issue has gotten plenty of attention at CPAC in the past. But not on the central stage of this year’s mega-gathering in Maryland.

Ohio, USA: Traditional Values Coalition Likens Senator Portman’s Gay Son to a Drunk Driver

Saturday, March 16th, 2013

Ohio Senator Rob PortmanYesterday, Ohio Senator Rob Portman shocked the conservative world by coming out for marriage equality after his son came out to him as gay. Reaction has been swift and at times fierce, and now the lovely folks at the Traditional Values Coalition are jumping on the bandwagon. Pink News reports:

Now, Andrea Lafferty of the California based Traditional Values Coalition has compared Mr Portman’s support of his son to her supporting her son’s drink driving.

Part of her letter mocking the Senator:

Earlier this week one of my children came to me and told me something which was shocking. He is a drunk driver and has been driving drunk regularly since college. I have taken several days to reflect on this and I gave decided to reverse my earlier opposition to drunk driving. My child is a drunk driver and I love him. It is a part of his identity, who he is.”

Yes, because deciding to drink too much alcohol and drive is exactly the same as being born gay and wanting to marry your partner. Classy, Mc. Lafferty.

On a related note, Politico believes that the GOP consultant class is solidly behind marriage equality now:

But the GOP’s professional elite is way past that point. In Washington D.C., it is probably more acceptable to favor gay marriage as a Republican consultant than to oppose it. The result is a Republican leadership class that’s sharply at odds, culturally, with the voters their party aims to lead. A vivid illustration came just a few weeks ago, when in late February a throng of top Republican politicos signed an amicus brief urging the Supreme Court to support a constitutional right to gay marriage. Among them were a half-dozen senior aides to Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign, which officially took the view that marriage is exclusively between one man and one woman.

We now have the first ever sitting GOP Senator supporting marriage equality. Who will be next?

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Ohio, USA: Reactions to Senator Portman’s Endorsement of Marriage Equality

Friday, March 15th, 2013

Ohio Senator Rob PortmanAs we reported earlier this morning, Senator Ron Portman from Ohio became the first sitting US Senator to endorse marriage equality after one of his sons came out to him. Now the reactions are rolling in.

The chairman of the Ohio Republican Party says he stands behind Senator Portman, as does the Ohio GOP. GBTQ Nation reports:

“Certainly, you can’t question Rob’s conservative credentials when it comes to issues affecting the Republican Party,” Bennett said in an interview. “I think we’ll be fine. And the party is a big tent. We welcome people holding a wide range of positions on some very difficult issues.” Still, Bennett said the state GOP received a flurry of phone calls for about two hours on Friday morning from people upset about Portman’s stance. But he said the calls were fewer in number than those offering their opinions on Republican Gov. John Kasich’s state budget proposal.

Over at LGBTQ Nation, they’re taking a look at what Portman’s conversion may mean for the party as a whole, and hilights John Boehner’s response:

A spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner, who shares Portman’s Cincinnati background, said the senator “is a great friend and ally, and the speaker respects his position, but the speaker continues to believe that marriage is between a man and a woman.” In January, Boehner chastised the Obama administration for dropping its legal defense of the Defense of Marriage Act, which the Supreme Court is to consider this month. Boehner authorized the continued use of public funds to defend the law in courts. Boehner’s latest comments reflect the change among many mainstream Republicans, who now deal with gay marriage in largely unemotional, legalistic terms rather than emotional terms about sin and God’s will.

Over in Utah, the ever classy Mormon representative Jason Chaffetz sais if one of his sons came out, he wouldn’t support marriage equality. Queerty reports:

“I would love them with all of my heart, all my heart, absolutely…I just believe in traditional marriage, that’s what i believe in. And I believe somebody who is gay can still be very happy and thrive and we want nothing with but the best for them. I don’t want to discriminate against them, but I just happen to believe in traditional marriage.”

At Washington Monthly, Ed Kilgore thinks the Portman evolution could be a tipping point on the right:

But Portman’s move could trigger a wave of conversions in the Republican ranks, and that in turn could break down legal resistance to same-sex marriage. Already we’ve seen most conservatives abandon the “traditional marriage” cause as a backlash generator and vote mobilizer. Now we’ll see if votes change in state legislatures, and the walls come tumbling down.

And Senator Portman’s gay son tweeted out support for his dad this morning after the announcement:

Will Portman, his son, praised his dad on Twitter early this morning, writing “Especially proud of my dad today”. The younger Portman goes to Yale, according to his Twitter profile, and has an interest in “int’l development, prisons, Latin America, whitewater kayaking, @sporcle, lots more.”