I have had time to digest Rob Portman’s announcement last week that he supports same sex marriage. He is a conservative Republican senator from Ohio. He and his wife Jane have a son Will who came out as gay two years ago. He talks candidly about his struggle to reconcile traditional Christian teaching with this new reality for him.
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.
I identify with his wrestling on this issue. Many of us traditional believers have wrestled with this issue, just as Portman has. In a way, his struggle mirrors the larger struggle the church has had between historic teachings on marriage and the Bible, and love for its gay sons and daughters. It’s a slow journey, one in which the Bible becomes a lamp for your feet and a light for your path in a different way than before. Actually for the orthodox, this has been the key problem all along: how can I accept this new reality and still see the Bible (and see by the Bible) as my life’s lamp?
I suspect Portman’s announcement will draw criticism from the left and from the far right (two groups more alike than they know). His words will appeal mostly to people in the center and center right. In other words, to people like me. I know little else about Rob Portman, but his words on this matter have a ring of authenticity.