Cultural elites are very excited about the announcement from U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio) that he believes the definition of marriage should be changed to include same-sex couples. His reasoning? Well, he says, his 21-year-old son is gay.
Sample headline and lede from the Columbus Dispatch:
Rob Portman reverses stance on gay marriage, says son is gay
WASHINGTON — Sen. Rob Portman has renounced his opposition to gay marriage, telling reporters from Ohio newspapers yesterday that he changed his position after his son Will told him and his wife, Jane, that he is gay.
Leaving apart the question of whether marriage law should be changed, this strikes me as a problematic approach. I mean, marriage law should be changed or it shouldn't be changed -- but it shouldn't hinge on the sexual attractions of one senator's son, should it?
What if a conservative senator said, "I'm reversing my views on whether abortion should be legal because my daughter got pregnant and wished she weren't."
One of the fascinating things about society today is that personal experience trumps everything else in argumentation. Very few people seem to care about fundamental truths and principles while everyone seems to care about personal experience and emotion. It's the Oprahfication of political philosophy.
Should a conservative determine good policy this way?