Reaction to Sen. Portmanís Support for Gay Marriage
WASHINGTON, DC (WENY) -- Ohio Senator Rob Portman's gay marriage announcement mirrored President Obama's last year. Portman, like the president, initially resisted gay marriage on religious grounds. But he changed his position after finding out his son Will is gay.
"For me personally, this is something we should allow people to do to get married and have the joy and stability of a marriage that I've had for over 26 years. I want all 3 of my kids to have it including my son who is gay," Portman said during an interview with CNN.
Jimmy LaSalvia, executive director of the gay conservative group, GOProud, says he hopes Portman's announcement will send a message to other republicans.
"The political reality of this issue is very different than it was in 2004ÖIt used to be that being against same-sex marriage was a political winner for Republicans, and now it's not. In fact, it's a loser. Just ask Mitt Romney," LaSavlia said.
So what about the perception in the halls of Congress?
"Sen. Portman is very well respected on the Hill. He's a solid conservative, and that's certainly not going to change," LaSalvia said.
But not everyone agrees with that. And some fellow conservatives are speaking out, including former GOP presidential candidate, Rick Santorum.
"The fundamental principles that attach to the institution of marriage really haven't changed as a result of that personal story. We need to look at what's right for the American public," Santorum said.
Portman says he favors a democratic process at the state level to recognize same-sex couples' ability to marry, He supported the Defense of Marriage Act, but now thinks part of the law should be repealed. Portman says same-sex couples who marry legally in states where it's allowed should get federal benefits .
The Supreme Court is set to hear a challenge to the defense of marriage act next week. President Obama calls the law unconstitutional. A new Washington Post/ABC news poll shows that 58 percent of Americans now believe it should be legal for gay couples to get married.