Anti-gay activist Phil Burress revealed his true colors today in the New York Times, by telling Sen. Rob Portman that if he supports his gay son, the sun will set on his political career.
On the other side, Phil Burress (pictured), president of Citizens for Community Values, said that he would now oppose Mr. Portman’s re-election “tooth and nail,” and that without the support of the 40 percent of evangelical voters in the Republican base, Mr. Portman, who will be a candidate again in 2016, “cannot win, he will not win.”
“I spent four and a half years on the board of an organization that helped people walk away from homosexuality. It is not innate; you’re not born that way.”
“That devastated me, that he embraced his son’s behavior.”
Burress fails to point out that the group he worked with is Exodus International, whose own President, Alan Chambers, rejects reparative therapy and claims that change of orientation is highly unlikely. According to Chambers:
The majority of people that I have met, and I would say the majority meaning 99.9 percent of them, have not experienced a change in their orientation or have gotten to a place where they could say that they could never be tempted or are not tempted in some way or experience some level of same-sex attraction.
Fortunately, Ohio is not the same place it was in 2004, when voters passed a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage:
Ohioans, including Ohio Republicans, are rapidly shifting on gay marriage, just as elsewhere. In a recent poll, 42 percent of Republicans in the state favored repealing the state’s ban to allow same-sex marriages.
The poll, conducted for The Columbus Dispatch last month (before Mr. Portman’s announcement, but released after it) found that 54 percent of all Ohioans would repeal the ban, a significant shift since it was passed in a statewide referendum in 2004 with 62 percent of voters.
Much of the change is driven by a generational shift: 73 percent of Ohioans under 35 favor same-sex marriage.
To highlight how fast the world is changing, just today Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) and Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-IN) announced support for marriage equality. Last week, Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL) expressed his support. And, the Internet was abuzz with Magic Johnson’s professions of love and acceptance for his gay son TJ — who also got a nod of support from Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant.
It was one thing for Burress to ostracize LGBT people when they were outsiders, and quite another for him to drone on about family values when people now know that gay people are valued members of their own families. The people of Ohio are increasingly ready to move on, while Burress and his hateful ilk remain mired in the past.