Back in the dark, plague-ridden days of the 1980s, some very angry gay activists hit on a new strategy. The reason people did not accept homosexuality, they thought, was because they simply did not know how many of the people around them -- their friends and relations, the celebrities they watched on tv, the politicians they voted for -- were gay. The way to make progress, therefore, was to force admired gay people into the open. And thus was born "outing."
Outing as such was basically a stunt and never really went anywhere, since the tactic was so hateful. What did work, though, was convincing millions of gay people to out themselves. As more and more gay people "came out" to their families and colleagues, people really did come to accept that homosexuals were not dangerous freaks.
Which conservative politicians support gay marriage? The ones whose gay children have come out. And now we can add another name to that list, Ohio Senator Rob Portman, who announced yesterday that he now supports gay marriage because his 19-year-old son is gay.