Negative reactions continue to pour in about Sen. Rob Portman’s (R-OH) decision to endorse same-sex marriage, having changed his opinion because his son, Will, is gay. In addition to Bryan Fischer’s claim that being gay is comparable to robbing a bank and CPAC attendees’ claims that the golden rule doesn’t apply to homosexuality, several other groups and individuals have specifically targeted Will in their responses to his father’s new position. The Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins applauded Portman’s love for his son, but condemned Will’s “choices,” which are “harmful” both to him and to “society as a whole”:
PERKINS: I commend Senator Portman for his unconditional love for his son. Regardless of a child’s choices, the love of a parent can and should be a guiding beacon in the lives of their sons and daughters. Unconditional love, however, does not mean unconditional support in choices that are both harmful to them and society as a whole. This is especially true when we approach public policy. Our unconditional love for our children should not override the historical and social science evidence which makes abundantly clear what is best for all children and for society – being raised by a married mother and father.
Conservative Baptist minister William Murray went even further in a statement released through his Government Is Not God PAC, calling on Portman to subject Will to ex-gay therapy before he dies from AIDS:
Portman has conveniently ignored the warnings against the sin of homosexuality in both the Old and New Testaments – and is accepting a behavior that may eventually kill his son from AIDS, other sexually transmitted diseases, or oral cancer. [...]
What sort of core values motivate a U.S. Senator to change his mind about a sexually destructive behavior simply because his son is involved in it? What will happen to Rob Portman’s belief system when he discovers that his son is infected with HIV or throat cancer?
A person with a same-sex attraction has a treatable condition. No one is “born gay” and there is hope for those who want to overcome these destructive behaviors.
In his original statement, Portman admirably noted that his son’s sexual orientation was not a choice.
While Fischer chose robbing banks as a comparison to homosexuality and Murray chose cocaine, Andrea Lafferty of the Traditional Values Coalition mocked Portman by suggesting he might as well have been supporting his son for drunk driving:
My child is a drunk driver and I love him. It is a part of his identity, who he is. [...]
The tough part of being a parent is telling one of those young souls whom we have been charged with raising that he or she is wrong. But because it is tough that doesn’t mean that we are excused from doing it or we can delegate our responsibility to a teacher or “the village” or some other entity.
Lastly, Congressman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) admitted today that he would not be capable of supporting a gay son in the same way Portman is. He told MSNBC’s Thomas Roberts that he would love gay children with all his heart, but even though he would “not want to discriminate against them,” he just happens to “believe in traditional marriage.” Watch it:
Earlier, Will tweeted that he was “especially proud of my dad today.” Portman took a courageous step in bucking his party by supporting his son, but the true test is how far he will go to defend Will from the barrage of offensive reactions.