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Continued: On gay marriage, Rob Portman’s liberal critics are wrong

  • Article by: WILLIAM SALETAN , Slate
  • Last update: March 18, 2013 - 1:27 PM

Another objects that Portman “was only able to realize the error of his ways when his own flesh and blood bravely stood up and said ‘Hey, you’re talking about me too.’ That’s what it took. None of the studies, the rallies, the protests, the legal victories, the testimonials, the documentaries, articles, books, plays, movies, television shows or anything could sway him . . . To me that indicates that there’s a pretty thick wall separating his political convictions from the rest of the world.”

Really? To me it just confirms that flesh-and-blood relationships are more powerful than studies, rallies or documentaries. That isn’t a conservative defect. It’s human psychology. In academic circles, it’s called contact theory.

It’s how President Obama explained his conversion on gay marriage last May: “Over the course of several years, as I talk to friends and family and neighbors, when I think about members of my own staff who are incredibly committed in monogamous relationships, same-sex relationships, who are raising kids together . . . “

Where were all these critics then?

Rob Portman’s journey, and ours, will take time. Be patient. Be welcoming. Be kind.

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