Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) announced on Thursday that he has changed his position on same-sex marriage and will now support marriage equality. The former staunch supporter of the Defense of Marriage Act credits his change in opinion to his son, Will, who came out to Portman as gay two years ago. Although economic issues will remain his office's number one focus, Senator Portman will no longer continue to vote against same-sex marriage.
The Senator spoke with reporters on Thursday for interviews and also did a televised interview with CNN. He published an op ed explaining his shift in position in The Columbus Dispatch. Portman described the life event which led to the new personal and political philosophy: "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 [sic] who he'd been that way for as long as he could remember."
When Will first came out, Portman looked to his church and also to former vice president Dick Cheney, whose daughter Mary is a lesbian, for guidance. Portman cited fatherhood, but also faith as his ultimate reasons for making the radical policy switch. On Thursday, he told the Plain Dealer, "The overriding message of love and compassion that I take from the Bible, and certainly the Golden Rule, and the fact that I believe we are all created by our maker, that has all influenced me in terms of my change on this issue."
In his op-ed, he concluded, "I've thought a great deal about this issue, and like millions of Americans in recent years, I've changed my mind on the question of marriage for same-sex couples. As we strive as a nation to form a more perfect union, I believe all of our sons and daughters ought to have the same opportunity to experience the joy and stability of marriage."
Reuters adds that this is not revolutionary. The Republican party is becoming increasingly split on the issue of gay marriage because of growth in public acceptance of LGBTQ individuals in recent years.
Media Resources: CNN 3/15/2013; USA Today 3/15/2013; Reuters 3/15/2013; Politico 3/15/2013; Columbus Dispatch 3/15/2013
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .