I have come to believe that if two people are prepared to make a lifetime commitment to love and care for each other in good times and in bad, the government shouldn’t deny them the opportunity to get married. That isn’t how I’ve always felt. As a congressman, and more recently as a senator, I opposed marriage for same-sex couples. Then something happened that led me to think through my position in a much deeper way. – Rob Portman commentary: Gay couples also deserve chance to get married

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IT TURNS out that context really is everything. Republican Rob Portman was against gay marriage until he learned his son was gay. That led to a call to Dick Cheney, who had a similar epiphany after grappling with his homophobia and that of the Republican Party, because his own daughter is gay.

The continual laudatory commentary over Pope Francis I in the media, whose own statements include that gay marriage is “of the devil,” proves just how far our religious institutions have to go before they can be considered truly worthy of our respect and support. That so many media organizations continue to give the Vatican a pass reveals the corruption at every level, outlets big and small that put page hits above human and civil rights, basic dignity of individuals to be free and equal.

If you know anyone who is gay, it doesn’t take a human rights activist to apply the golden rule and figure out he or she is entitled to the exact same rights as everyone else. Why organized religion, including their most vaunted leaders that include the new Vatican emissary, don’t understand their continued institutional bigotry, as well as their misogyny, is one of the reasons people continue to move away from religion and consider themselves “religiously unaffiliated,” proves their intransigence is a cancer on their relevancy.

The latest study confirms a 2012 Pew Research poll that revealed the same “religiously unaffiliated” trend in America.

Religious affiliation in the United States is at its lowest point since it began to be tracked in the 1930s, according to analysis of newly released survey data by researchers from the University of California, Berkeley, and Duke University. Last year, one in five Americans claimed they had no religious preference, more than double the number reported in 1990. – Americans and religion increasingly parting ways, new survey shows [h/t Huffington Post]

Beyond this bigotry lies a new day, when yet another respected political person stands up after being educated by his own offspring that being gay doesn’t mean you’re not equal.

Portman’s commentary, with CPAC rolling on in the background in all its myopic smallness, marks one more stride forward for Republicans who so desperately need to find the light amid the darkness that strangles them at their foundation. A foundation that is woven into the very religious institutions who are dying on the American human rights vine.