Readers weigh in on Portman, gay marriage

Letter to the editor

A person’s principles do not change

I was very disappointed in Sen. Rob Portman’s recent announcement. I would like to think that people voted into office are guided by certain principles. These principles should not be affected by family issues or personal circumstances. Principles are the things that guide all our decisions and actions. To me, his change in heart about gay marriage means his previous position was based on prejudice, not principle. Prejudices can change; principles do not change.

I believe that the major problem in our society today is our disregard for principles. Without principles, society is like a rudderless boat being blown about by the whims of the current culture of what is best for me. BOB EMERSON, BEAVERCREEK

Senator puts political career first

I am increasingly depressed by politicians, like Sen. Rob Portman, who lack basic empathy for fellow citizens and prioritize their political careers well above the civil rights of other Americans. Like former Vice President Dick Cheney, the senator had nothing but disdain for the gay community, and certainly no interest in their civil rights, until his son declared his sexuality. Seems even then he held his tongue and support to ensure his credentials for a vice presidential run. Is it reasonable to expect the sequester would be solved if one of his relatives were a soon-to-be furloughed government employee?

At the end of the day, Portman’s about-face this is less about gay rights than it is about fundamental character, or the obvious lack thereof. JAMES JASINA, CENTERVILLE

Where was his compassion for others?

Sen. Rob Portman is a sincere and decent man. Of this, I have no doubt. I admire his embracing of his son’s fondest hopes for a happy life in marriage. Yet, I must say that there is one troubling question that remains with me. It appears to me that too many conservatives remain intractable in their ideology on many issues (gay marriage, gun violence, mental health, etc.) until the particular problem or issue confronts them in the context of their own family. Why does it take hearing your own child’s struggle for acceptance and love, or having to bury a loved one killed by gun violence, or even trying to acquire adequate treatment for your disabled child before your hearts and minds are open to a more compassionate way for the many? KEVIN O’HEARN, DAYTON

How deep are his other convictions?

It is sad that Sen. Rob Portman reacted emotionally to his son’s homosexuality by supporting homosexual marriage. Of course, he wants to lovingly stand by his son … that is what parents do. But we can stand by our children without promoting what is wrong. If your child is a thief, do you say theft is OK?

Portman has avowed socially conservative principles. His change is disturbing. It makes me wonder how deep his conviction is regarding abortion.

Our politicians often end their speeches with “May God bless America.” How can God bless America when our nation makes abortion a national policy and promotes open homosexual practice in our military? Homosexual marriage is another effort to shake a fist in God’s face. Only a fool can say that abortion and homosexuality are acceptable to God. Too many Biblical passages say they are not. … NORM PENNINGTON, HAMILTON

What about others’ sons and daughters?

What Sen. Rob Portman apparently now believes and has publicly stated is absolutely wonderful. However, isn’t it amazing the number of people who are so adamantly opposed to these different gay issues until they learn of a gay family member or close friend? Isn’t it amazing how these holier-than-thou, standing on religion or political dogma folks can’t possibly imagine that gays deserve family happiness and equal rights like the rest of us, and then, all of a sudden, “Oh wow, I sure want my son or daughter or friend Joe to have what I have”?

National polls now all show that a majority of Americans favor gay rights, including marriage, and unless and until Portman’s fellow politicians come around to that thinking, they’re going to be left by the wayside. The failure to recognize what’s right in a general sense overall until it becomes personal is what makes today’s politicians so poor and ineffective, whether it’s gay issues or the national budget or anything else within their purview. Better late than never, Sen. Portman, but you should have been there all along for everyone else’s sons and daughters. DOROTHY TUZZI, WASHINGTON TWP.

Change seems to be a political move

Unfortunately, I see Sen. Rob Portman’s changed stance on the Defense of Marriage Act as more of a measure to get his name into the national media spotlight than a true change of heart. Perhaps both, but why now? His son is reported to have told his parents two or more years ago about his homosexual preference. The senator’s announcement coincides perfectly as the Supreme Court is about to wrestle with this issue. The political wind blows, and he bends with it.

Portman has been on the “short list” twice as a potential vice presidential candidate (for John McCain and Mitt Romney), but has come up short. Now, it appears he has positioned himself to hopefully be a player in power politics when all eyes again turn to the Ohio primaries in 2016. Watch and see.

I would not vote for Portman again. I did once. Instead, I would like to see an incumbent or candidate with the moral courage to not bend his moral values when it becomes more advantageous to do so. …

STEVE CAPENOS SR., BEAVERCREEK

Speak Up

I think Sen. Rob Portman has lost not only his religion, but also my trust. In 1996, he was against gay marriages, but since it hit his family, he encourages it instead of advising and praying for his son to return to what God has intended, that marriage is biblical, not political.

The newly “enlightened” view of Sen. Rob Portman concerning homosexual marriage is disgusting and a slap in the face to all conservative Republicans. Portman is definitely a RINO. I’ll vote for a Democrat before I ever vote for him again.

Sen. Rob Portman has done a 180-turn and now says he supports gay marriage after his son comes out of the closet. Isn’t it interesting how one’s perspective can change about things when you walk a mile in another man’s shoes? Perhaps other Republicans should also shed their Gucci’s once in a while.

I can understand his decision, but don’t call it marriage. Marriage is and should be between a man and a woman. It is a civil union and lawmakers can extend benefits to legitimate civil unions if they wish.

Now that Sen. Rob Portman has come out in favor of compassion toward gays, I wish he would do the same thing regarding the disabled.

The GOP’s sudden slobbering and fawning over gays, illegal immigrants and all minorities began after the November 2012 election results and will hit a crescendo up through the congressional elections in 2014. It’s hilarious, but don’t fall for it. It’s not in their DNA. Once you vote them in, you will be thinking “What the heck was I thinking, am I really that stupid?”

Sen. Portman’s change of heart regarding the rights of gay Americans to marry isn’t surprising. Conservatives believe that the world revolves around them, that their lives mirror the lives of the rest of society. So gay marriage is an abomination, at least until they find out that Junior is gay. Talk to a conservative Republican who is unemployed and down on his luck and suddenly, as if by some miracle, unemployment and welfare and food stamps are no longer dirty words.

So, when it’s anybody else’s child, same-sex marriage is wrong; but now that it applies to him, it’s suddenly all right. Can you say “hypocrite,” boys and girls?

Sen. Rob Portman’s flip-flop epitomizes a basic problem in America with elected officials and ordinary citizens alike. We have become willing to allow personal preference to “trump” core values.

Rob Portman’s change of heart on same-sex marriage actually shows he hasn’t forgotten how to listen to his heart. Whether his new position is right or wrong is superseded by his need to be a sensible — triumphantly so — and loving father. In the end, it is more important to be humane than to be political.

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