Lay off Rob Portman! He did a huge, great thing by coming out in support of gay marriage—the only sitting Republican senator to do so. Ever.
Maybe he would have never done so if his son wasn’t gay, but why should that matter? Channeling a personal experience into activism is not self-serving. It’s how most of us go about discovering what causes to champion in our daily lives. We often don’t understand something until confronted with it head-on. Consider the number of HIV activists in the gay community. How many of them worked so hard for the cause before they became infected?
I am not arguing that as a senator—and as a human being—Rob Portman shouldn’t soul search and champion causes that aren’t part of his personal experience. As a U.S. senator, he’s tasked with the responsibility of doing the right thing for all citizens, not just the ones he can personally relate to. I hope he understands that and will act accordingly. There is no reason, though, to attack a man who arrived at one right thing because he’s had a personal encounter with it.