Regarding the March 16 front-page article “Gay marriage stance at odds with much of GOP”:

How convenient. Upon learning that his son is gay, Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) has decided that gay and lesbian Americans should be granted the same right to marry as the rest of the citizenry. If the senator had a daughter who found herself facing an unwanted pregnancy, would he undergo another epiphany regarding a woman’s right to reproductive self-determination?

It is human nature to appreciate a father’s love and acceptance of his son. But it is difficult to reconcile that same father’s public pronouncements and voting history with what might charitably be described as situational ethics but could more accurately be labeled as hypocrisy.

Scott Kenyon, Vienna

Former House speaker Tip O’Neill told us that all politics is local. Former vice president Dick Cheney and Sen. Rob Portman, both of whom have gay children and both of whom have changed their positions on gay marriage, teach us that all politics is personal.

Larry Checco, Silver Spring

It is telling that two otherwise staunch conservatives, Sen. Rob Portman and former vice president Dick Cheney, support same-sex marriage in defiance of the views of two-thirds of Republican voters and every Republican senator other than Mr. Portman. The common thread: They each know, love and respect someone who is gay (a son and daughter, respectively), which allows them to form views based on the impact of discrimination on an actual person whom they love instead of based on rhetoric about the evils of homosexuality.

A challenge to those who oppose gay marriage: Meet and get to know a few gay people, if you haven’t already. I suspect you will find they have about the same hopes and dreams, laugh at pretty much the same jokes and shed tears for about the same reasons as you. If, after you do that, you still oppose gay marriage, then at least your position can be respected as informed. Then again, you might be surprised by the results. Just look at what happened to Mr. Cheney and Mr. Portman.

Rich Davis, Laurel