GOP senators support gay marriage, step closer to equality

The Republican Party now has two gay marriage supporters. Two GOP senators, Rob Portman (Ohio) and Mark Kirk (Ill.) have recently shown their support for gay marriage.

Interestingly enough, both senators experienced extraordinary circumstances that led them to support gay marriage.

Kirk recently returned to the Senate after suffering from a stroke, according to Aaron Blake, a writer for the Washington Post.

Kirk recalled climbing the Capitol steps in January and promising himself that he would return with an open mind.

“Same-sex couples should have the right to civil marriage. Our time on this earth is limited; I know that better than most. Life comes down to who you love and who loves you back — government has no place in the middle,” said Kirk in a statement on April 2.

Portman, a possible 2016 presidential candidate, announced his support for his son, who came out in 2011, according to Blake.

“I had a different point of view until very recently . . . I’m sure there are other political impacts, but for me this was not a political decision,” said Portman, according to ABC News.

This is great for our country because it makes the parties less black and white. Now that both parties have supporters of gay marriage, there is more room for discussion and evolving stances.

“The fact that two GOP senators now publicly support gay marriage is a good step forward,” said sophomore Josh Gray, a political science major. “It signifies that the divide is no longer simply two political parties fighting over a policy, but rather an issue that people of many political backgrounds can unite behind without getting flack for abandoning their political origins, paving the way for future elected officials to come out in support of gay marriage.”

I think this change has brought us one step closer to a solution in the ongoing battle for equality.

I also believe the senators’ support may inspire others to do the same.

Sophomore Juliet Campbell, a member of CLU’s College Republicans Club was not surprised to hear that some GOP senators have changed their stances.

“There were bound to be some GOP politicians supporting gay marriage; they’re just the minority on that issue in regards to the rest of the Republican Party. I don’t think that these two senators supporting gay marriage is a win for the liberals or loss for the conservatives. The country still has a long way to go before a decision on this issue is made,” said Campbell.

There is a long way to go, but I believe that this is a great sign for all.

The issue needs to be fully addressed. It is more realistic to have supporters and non-supporters from each party instead of one side full of supporters and the other side of opponents.

Senior Matthew Hamlett, president of Pi Sigma Alpha political science honors society, believes the stories of the GOP senators help define perceptions of gay marriage.

“It’s moments like the ones that changed their stance that have the ability to bring wide-spread change in perception. It depicts the issue as more personal, one which can affect friends, neighbors and family members,” said Hamlett.

Portman’s 180-degree turn after he found out his son was gay just shows how personal experience can affect beliefs.

Portman empathized with his son and decided to change his views.

I believe people like Portman can provide the most help toward the issue of such sharp opposing viewpoints, as they understand both sides of the argument.

Sophomore Taylor Rofinot, the vice president of BGLAD, Bisexuals, Gays, Lesbians, and Allies for Diversity, was happy to hear the GOP senators publicly support gay marriage.

“In this day and age, I think it is still hard for many people to stand out against their party and show their support for fear of losing re-elections or votes,” said Rofinot. “This is brilliant that we finally have Republicans who are also supporting gay marriage.”

I am a supporter of gay marriage because I think everyone should have the right to marry.

There are a lot of roadblocks that cause people to disagree, or not fully support it. I can only hope that one day a compromise can be reached.

Before we can delve into the discussion of legalizing gay marriage, there needs to be a diverse range of voices debating the topic.

 

Louie DeMetre
Staff Writer
Published April 17, 2013