Bench Memos

On Senator Portman’s “Change of Heart” on Same-Sex Marriage

Last week, Senator Rob Portman of Ohio announced that he now supports same-sex marriage. Just a couple of comments:

1. What received very little attention is Portman’s opposition to judicial invalidation of marriage laws:

The process of citizens persuading fellow citizens is how consensus is built and enduring change is forged. That’s why I believe change should come about through the democratic process in the states. Judicial intervention from Washington would circumvent that process as it’s moving in the direction of recognizing marriage for same-sex couples. An expansive court ruling would run the risk of deepening divisions rather than resolving them.

2. As is so often the case, columnist Dennis Prager had words of wisdom on the matter, including these:

Either it is right to maintain the man-woman definition of our most important social institution, or it is not. We cannot base our decision on compassion for gays, whether the gay is our child, our sibling, our friend, or anyone else.

Yes, societies have changed qualifications for marriage regarding age and number, but no society before the 21st century ever considered redefining the fundamental nature of marriage by changing the sexes. That is why it is not honest to argue that same-sex marriage is just another redefinition. It is the most radical change in the definition of marriage in the history of civilization.…

Parents who believe in the man-woman definition of marriage do not owe it to their gay child to support the same-sex redefinition of marriage — any more than gay children owe it to these parents to oppose same-sex marriage. Parents and children owe each other love and respect, not abandonment of convictions.


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