Republican Senator Comes Out in Support of Gay Marriage
WASHINGTON, DC (WENY) -- A major policy shift from a man once in the running to be Mitt Romney’s running mate. Republican Senator Rob Portman of Ohio announced today he now supports same-sex marriage.
He’s the first Senate Republican to do so publicly. In an op-ed in Friday morning’s Columbus Dispatch, Senator Rob Portman says he’s had a change of heart when it comes to the issue of same-sex marriage.
In the piece, Portman says his 21-year-old son, Will, told him he was gay two years ago. Portman says he wrestled to reconcile his Christian faith and his desire for his son to have the same opportunities to pursue happiness as his brother and sister. He says, quote, “Ultimately, it came down to the Bible’s overarching themes of love and compassion and my belief that we are all children of God.”
Portman had opposed same-sex marriage as a congressman and then a senator. He says well-intentioned people can disagree on the issue, and he still believes religious institutions should not have to recognize marriages they don’t approve of.
In an interview with CNN’s Dana Bash, Portman says he told Mitt Romney about his son when he was in the running to be Romney’s running mate, but Portman doesn’t think it was a deal-breaker. Bash also asked Portman if his son *asked* him to change his position, and here’s what he said.
“Not initially. And, in fact, I wasn't thinking about policy or positions, I was just thinking about him as my son, and someone who I love very much. I'm very proud of him. So that was not an initial discussion, but over time, yeah, we started talking about that more, and he was helpful as you can imagine at giving me some of his perspective on it and information about it, he's a very bright kid," Portman said.
Ohio’s other senator, Democrat Sherrod Brown, who’s been a long-time supporter of gay marriage said, quote, “I'm glad Sen. Portman has joined the growing majority of Americans who support full civil rights for our gay and lesbian family, friends, and neighbors…I look forward to working with him to ensure that all Americans have the ability to marry regardless of whom they love or where they live."
Portman joins a growing list of Republicans who support same-sex marriage – including former First Lady Laura Bush, Dick Cheney, and Colin Powell. Besides Portman, there are only two other Republicans in Congress who publicly support gay marriage, according the gay conservative group, “Go Proud.”