Our political debates might be very different if lawmakers took the time to think of other people's children
Sen. Rob Portman's (R-Ohio) announcement that he now supports same-sex marriage since learning that his own son is gay is certainly newsworthy.
Portman is the first Republican senator to back gay marriage, he was on Mitt Romney's short list of potential running mates, and is considered a possible Republican presidential candidate himself in 2016. The change of heart could even tip the balance in the gay marriage debate.
But what makes the news most interesting is that Portman's policy reversal came not from debates in the Senate but from a personal connection to the issue. His son is gay.
Portman writes in the Columbus Dispatch:
It allowed me to think of this issue from a new perspective, and that's of a dad who loves his son a lot and wants him to have the same opportunities that his brother and sister would have — to have a relationship like Jane and I have had for over 26 years.
Any parent knows children give you a new perspective on life. Seeing the world through your own child's eyes is a wonderful and life-changing experience.
But it makes you wonder how different our political debates might be if more children of U.S. senators suddenly announced they were gay — or poor, or simply without the tremendous advantages of being the child of a powerful lawmaker.
Every U.S. senator should take the time to look at the world through the eyes of not just their own children but of other people's children as well.
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