Ohio Senator Rob Portman came out in support of marriage equality, largely because his 21-year-old gay son convinced him being conservative and supporting marriage equality weren’t at odds with each other.
Ultimately, this isn’t about gay rights, or even gay people for that matter. It’s about exposing yourself to the unknown. The same could be said for our opinions about what it’s like for others to be poor, or minorities, or immigrants, or whatever group we currently don’t understand. This is about meeting people who enjoy different lives than yours, instead of relying on basic stereotypes and propaganda.
Go out and experience a world different from yours. Be the city slicker who sits down with the farmer. Be the Wall Street banker who sits down with the single mother that can’t pay her electric bill. Be the border restrictionist who sits down with the Ecuadorian landscaper whose entire family is waiting back home on his paycheck. Don’t just imagine what it’s like to put yourself in someone else’s shoes; go see what it’s like to put yourself in their lives, if even just for a moment, for a flicker of honest conversation.
Sen. Portman says he believes “all of our sons and daughters ought to have the same opportunity to experience the joy and stability of marriage.” He’s right, though it shouldn’t have to be about someone in your family enjoying the same basic freedoms, opportunities and happiness as everyone else. The family dinner table is as good a place as any to continue this earnest conversation, but let’s make it a big enough table to set a place for everyone.
No surprise that the conservatives who support marriage equality and have no issue with gay people are the ones that have family members who are gay. See: Dick Cheney.