The Republican conservative spring break known as CPAC is happening this weekend, with a parade of 2016 presidential hopefuls (minus New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie) talking amongst themselves about freedom and the lack thereof. Off stage, Republicans and others are talking about bartender Scott Prouty, the man who videotaped Mitt Romney denigrating 47% of the population whose votes he would not solicit since they would never vote for him. The 47% video not only dramatically impacted the 2012 election – but elections to come.
The OTHER thing CPAC, Republicans and other politicos are talking about is Ohio Republican Sen. Rob Portman’s surprise reversal on marriage equality. It turns out his 21 year old son Will is gay. “I have come to believe that if two people are prepared to make a lifetime commitment to love and care for each other in good times and in bad, the government shouldn’t deny them the opportunity to get married,” Portman – who was on Mitt Romney’s short list for vice president – wrote in an op-ed for the Columbus Dispatch.
Portman’s announcement comes as more and more conservative Republicans are changing their position - – and as some GOP politicos realize they must attract younger people to the party. The Young Conservatives for the Freedom to Marry campaign manager Tyler Deaton released this statement:
“Senator Portman is the living, breathing future of the Republican Party right in front of our eyes. He’s an authentic and consistent conservative who is showing the way to a more fiscally responsible and at the same time more socially tolerant GOP. His change of heart reflects the same thinking and feeling that many Republicans are showing as they get to know gay people and understand why marriage matters to them. We hope more of Senator Portman’s Republican colleagues in Congress will join him in supporting the freedom to marry, as several have already done.”
“I’m announcing today a change of heart on an issue that a lot of people feel strongly about that has to do with gay couples’ opportunity to marry….
I’ve come to the conclusion that for me, personally, I think this is something that we should allow people to do, to get married, and to have the joy and stability of marriage that I’ve had for over 26 years. That I want all of my children to have, including our son, who is gay…..
My son came to Jane, my wife, and I, told us that he was gay, and that it was not a choice, and that it’s just part of who he is, and that’s who he’d been that way for as long as he could remember.”