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March 20, 2013 at 7:15 AM

How politicians get to ‘I do’ on same-sex marriage

Two U.S. political figures announced their belated support for same-sex marriage. Their only common denominator might be interest in presidential politics in 2016.

Hillary Rodham Clinton, who supported civil unions when she ran for president in 2008, on Monday endorsed same-sex marriage. Citizen Clinton, the former Secretary of State, and seven-year Democratic senator from New York, said she now felt free to talk about her personal revelations.

Last week, Republican Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio, a long-time opponent of gay rights, said he would support same-sex marriage. He did so as he announced his son was gay. Portman instantly suffered the wrath of the religious right.

Is there a difference between these two declarations? Was Clinton’s change of heart a matter of personal insight or political calculation?

Should Portman get dinged for being against gay rights until the rules and prohibitions affected his kid? You know, those faux public debates. Is college for everyone? Maybe not your children. For mine? Well, of course.

One might reasonably expect that as 2016 draws closer, endorsements for same-sex marriage will grow across party lines.  Is the nature of the journey toward a new public position important at all, or is it the conclusion that matters most?

 

Comments | Topics: 2016, Clinton, Portman

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