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Religious Tolerance logo

Movement toward same-sex marriage (SSM), LGBT equality etc.

2013-MAR-15 to 21: Accelerating steps towards
same-sex marriage (SSM), LGBT equality etc.

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We use the acronym "SSM" throughout this section to represent "same-sex marriage"
We use the acronym "LGBT" to refer to lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgender persons
and transsexuals. The acronym "LGB" refers to lesbians, gays, and bisexuals.

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"Accelerating steps" during 2013-MAR-01 to 14 are contained in the previous essay

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Additional developments during the second half of 2013-MAR:

  • 2013-MAR-15: OH: Senator Rob Portman (R) supports same-sex marriage: Senator Portman is the latest Republican politician, and the first Republican Senator to support SSM. He reversed his position after his son, Will, 21, revealed to him that he is gay. Senator Portman said:

    "I have come to believe that if two people are prepared to make a lifetime commitment to love and care for each other in good times and in bad, the government shouldn't deny them the opportunity to get married. ... That isn’t how I’ve always felt. As a congressman, and more recently as a senator, I opposed marriage for same-sex couples. Then something happened that led me to think through my position in a much deeper way." 1

    During an interview with CNN he said:


Portman wrote an op-ed in the Columbus Dispatch in which he wrote that when he learned of his son's sexual orientation:

    "... my position on marriage for same-sex couples was rooted in my faith tradition that marriage is a sacred bond between a man and a woman. Knowing that my son is gay prompted me to consider the issue from another perspective: that of a dad who wants all three of his kids to lead happy, meaningful lives with the people they love, a blessing Jane and I have shared for 26 years.

    I wrestled with how to reconcile my Christian faith with my desire for Will to have the same opportunities to pursue happiness and fulfillment as his brother and sister. Ultimately, it came down to the Bible’s overarching themes of love and compassion and my belief that we are all children of God. ..."

    "We conservatives believe in personal liberty and minimal government interference in people’s lives. We also consider the family unit to be the fundamental building block of society. We should encourage people to make long-term commitments to each other and build families, so as to foster strong, stable communities and promote personal responsibility." 2

Having such a respected Republican congress member favor same-sex marriage will make it easier for others to follow his lead.

Portman's conversion illustrates a well known fact: as long as a person has no direct involvement with the LGBT community, they can view sexual minorities as disturbed, mentally ill, a threat, or even evil. But when they know and respect a member of that community as a close friend or family member, or even as their own child, they have the possibility of becoming accepting of the community, and being motivated to fight for equal rights for all.

The Family Research Council -- which is listed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center because of its inaccurate statements concerning the LGBT community -- issued a press release commending "Senator Portman for his unconditional love for his son." It stated, in part:

    "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." 3

Some in the media are now referring to this process whereby people change their mind as a result of discovering that a friend or family member is gay as the "Rob Portman effect." 8

  • 2013-MAR-15: Two new themes emerging among ant-SSM groups: Tony Perkins from the Family Research Center issued his latest Washington Update. One topic he mentioned is bigotry: that as SSM becomes more widely accepted as a civil rights issue in the U.S., persons opposed to SSM will increasingly be regarded by the majority as a bigoted minority. This has happened before over interracial marriage. Brian Brown of the National Organization for Marriage has expressed similar concerns. Some supporters of marriage equality will probably regard this as a positive sign: that Perkins and Brown both realize that their anti-gay stance is increasingly being abandoned by the public and that accusations of bigotry are certain to follow. Another topic being emphasized by these two groups is the fear that their groups' supporters will realize that SSM is inevitable (as shown by the above poll), and give up the fight to make marriage exclusively restricted to opposite-sex couples. 4

  • 2013-MAR-17: Evangelical pastor, Rob Bell, supports marriage equality: Rob Bell shocked evangelical Christianity in 2011 when he questioned the existence of Hell in his book: "Love Wins: A book about Heaven, Hell and the fate of every person who ever lived." 5 His congregation lost 3,000 members as a result of this book. Speaking at the Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, CA, he said:

    "I am for marriage. I am for fidelity. I am for love, whether it’s a man and woman, a woman and a woman, a man and a man. ... I think this is the world we are living in and we need to affirm people wherever they are." 6

    Gregg DesElms -- posted a response to "G-Dog" -- an evangelical Christian -- about Bell's acceptance of SSM: He wrote:

    "The lot of you really need to slow down and analyze the entire situation, and try to connect the dots. ... As long as you all can keep same-sex marriage in the abstract, and at arm's length, then it's really easy for you to reject it, out of hand, because, after all, you've got no skin in the game. But if you look at the history of it all, conservative, after conservative, after conservative, ends-up changing his/her tune about same-sex marriage once a loved-one's homosexuality suddenly becomes known (or is at least finally confirmed) to them.

    Those of you who just won't budge an inch on same-sex marriage (or homosexuality, just generally) might want to ask yourselves why so many conservatives turn around once it hits them where they live. Trust me when I tell you that it's nearly never because the changed conservative is suddenly reading scripture differently. Rather, it's usually because of the very same 'extremely vague values' that you so recklessly decried, and so conveniently just can't seem to define... you know... really vague stuff like... oh... how 'bout 'humaneness,' or 'niceness,' or 'tolerance,' or 'acceptance,' or 'co-existence.' The minute a conservative has skin in the LGBT game, we observe that s/he suddenly understands those concepts... at least if s/he wants to maintain his/her relationship with, and not alienate himself/herself from, whomever is the gay person now in his/her life (who was always there, of course; and who was always gay, too; but whose gayness the conservative may only now be realizing)."

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  • 2013-MAR-18: Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton supports marriage equality: She prepared a video statement for the Human Rights Campaign (HRC):
  •   7
  • 2013-MAR-18: Washington Post/ABC Poll shows highest ever support for SSM highest ever:
    • 58% answered "legal" to the question : "Do you think it should be legal or illegal for gay and lesbian couples to get married?" 36% answered "illegal." 6% didn't know or didn't answer. The ratio of support to opposition is inching towards a 2:1 ratio.

    • 64% believe that the legalization of SSM should be decided for all states on the basis of the U.S. Constitution; 33% believe that each state should make its own law. 3% didn't know or didn't answer.

    • 62% believe that being homosexual is "just the way they are." About 20 years ago, less than half of the public have agreed. Still, 24% believe that homosexuality is something that people choose, and 14% didn't know or didn't answer.

    • The WP/ABC article reported that: "In the states that allow gay marriage, 68 percent say such same-sex marriages should be legal, but so too do 56 percent of those in states where the practice is not legal."

    The poll was taken between MAR-07 to 10 among a national sample of 1,001 adults. The margin of error was the usual ±3.5 percentage points.

The poll also analyzed results as a function of the subject's age and political affiliation. More details.

  • 2013-MAR-21: Unbelievable distortion of poll results by Family Research Council (FRC): There are two obvious ways to sample public opinion on government recognition of the relationships of loving, committed same-sex couples:
    1. To ask people whether same-sex couples should be able to marry or not. The most recent poll showed 58% in favor of SSM.

    2. To ask people which of three options they would like to see: same-sex marriage, civil unions but not marriage, or no recognition at all. A massive Reuters poll of 24.4555 adults during the first half of March showed 41% a plurality of in favor of marriage, a minority of 25% favoring civil unions and 25% favoring no recognition at all. More details.

These are obviously two very different polls. But Tony Perkins of the FRC equated the two, plucked the 58% from one poll and equated it to the 41% of the other poll and concluded that support for SSM had dropped by 17 percentage points in 2 days. A classical case of equating apples and oranges.

  • 2012-MAR-21:New Mexico lawsuit filed: The ACLU of New Mexico, ACLU national, NCLR, Sutin Law Firm, and Albuquerque attorneys Maureen Sanders, Kate Girard, and Lynn Perls had also filed filed a lawsuit in the Second Judicial District Court. It is called Griego v. Oliver, and seeks the freedom of same-sex couples to marry. More details

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"Accelerating steps" during 2013-MAR-23 to 26 continue in the next essay

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. Matthew DeLuca, "GOP's Rob Portman announces support for same-sex marriage," NBC Politics, 2013-MAR-15, at:
  2. Rob Portman, "Gay couples also deserve chance to get married," The Columbus Dispatch, 2013-MAR-15, at:
  3. "FRC Statement on Senator Portman's Reversal on Marriage," Press Release, 2013-MAR-15, at:
  4. Tony Perkins, "Rubio's building blocs for marriage," FRC;s Washington Update, 2013-MAR-15, at:
  5. Rob Bell, "Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived," HarperOne, (2012). Read reviews or order this book safely from online book store
  6. Nichole Greenfield, "Evangelical Star Rob Bell Comes Out For Marriage Equality," Religion Dispatches, 2013-MAR-19, at:
  7. Hillary Clinton, "Hillary Clinton for HRC's Americans for Marriage Equality," You Tube, 2013-MAR-18, at:
  8. "CNN Poll: 'Rob Portman effect' fuels support for same-sex marriage," CNN, 2013-MAR-25, at:

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How you got here:

Home > "Hot" topics > Homosexuality> Same-sex marriage > SSM sub-menu > here

Home > "Hot" topics > Homosexuality> Same-sex marriage > SSM sub-menu > Tipping point > here

Home > "Hot" topics > Homosexuality> Agenda & news >LGBT News > here

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Copyright © 2013 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance.
First posted: 2013-MAR-02
Latest update: 2013-JUL-08
Author: B.A. Robinson
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Go to the previous page, or to the Gay - lesbian news menu, , or go to the LGBT "Tipping point" menu, or go to the "Same-sex marriage" menu, or choose:

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