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Coming Out Is Speaking Out

By Roy Speckhardt

March 21, 2013

Senator Rob Portman, who helped Mitt Romney's 2012 presidential campaign and co-sponsored the Defense of Marriage Act, kick-started a firestorm among politicos and LGBTQ advocates across the nation with his recent reversal on same-sex marriage. The catalyst for this sudden change,according to the Columbus Dispatch, was hearing his son Will come out of the closet.

While the change appears startling for a conservative senator, it's not unheard of for conservatives to suddenly decide that their homophobic rhetoric was a bit misguided once they discover a family member who is gay or lesbian. Alicia Wiersema of ABC News pointed out this trend in a recent article that showed how other conservative politicians such as Dick Cheney and Bob Barr changed their positions on gay marriage after a family member came out. It's certainly frustrating to see public figures support civil rights for all only when not doing so would negatively impact a loved one--especially when it's a government official who is supposed to represent all of their constituents. But it's still a positive development, and it reminds us just how important coming out can be.

Read the rest of this Huffington Post piece here.

Roy SpeckhardtRoy Speckhardt is the executive director of the American Humanist Association.