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GOP Sen. Portman of Ohio now supports gay marriage

By Associated Press

POSTED:



CINCINNATI (AP) — Republican U.S. Sen. Rob Portman is now supporting gay marriage and says his reversal on the issue began when he learned one of his sons is gay.

Ohio's junior senator disclosed his change of heart in interviews with several Ohio newspapers and CNN. In an op-ed published Friday in The Columbus Dispatch he said the decision came after a lot of thought.

"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," he wrote.

As a member of the House in 1996, Portman voted in favor of the Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as between a man and a woman and bars federal recognition of same-sex marriage.

Portman said his views on gay marriage began changing in 2011 when his son, Will, then a freshman at Yale University, told his parents he was gay and that it wasn't a choice but "part of who he was." Portman said he and his wife, Jane, were very surprised but also supportive.

He said it prompted him to reconsider gay marriage from a different perspective, that of a father who wants all three of his children to have happy lives with people they love.

He said he talked to his pastor and to people on both sides of the gay marriage issue, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who is opposed to gay marriage, and former Vice President Dick Cheney, who supports it. Cheney's daughter is a lesbian.

Portman told reporters Thursday that his previous views on marriage were rooted in his Methodist faith.

"Ultimately, for me, it came down to the Bible's overarching themes of love and compassion and my belief that we are all children of God," he wrote.

The well-known Ohio conservative, a former U.S. trade representative and White House budget chief, was considered but not chosen as Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney's running mate. Portman told the newspapers Romney was informed about Will's sexuality last year.

Portman's reversal comes as the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to hear arguments this month in a challenge to a provision of the Defense of Marriage Act.

Portman said he would like Congress to repeal the provision of the DOMA that bans federal recognition of gay marriage, though he still supports the part of the law that says states should not be forced to recognize such marriages.

A group working to overturn Ohio's ban on same-sex marriage praised Portman's comments.





More From The Star-Advertiser

Illinois GOP Sen. Kirk backs gay marriage




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whs1966 wrote:
Well, well. Once Portman realized that gay people are people he changed his views.
on March 15,2013 | 04:37AM
DowntownGreen wrote:
Congratulations to Senator Portman on his evolution in his thinking on this issue. He's discovered what many have before him that have taken this journey: it's much harder to discriminate against people who are different when you realize they are the people you love in your heart.
on March 15,2013 | 05:29AM
Kahu Matu wrote:
So if his son would have been divorced or a drunk or a pedophile or a murderer, would he now support those actions as well? Homosexuality has nothing to do with a person but rather their actions and what we as a community choose to celebrate as beneficial and positive. In our current state, no one is being denied love or being told they are a secondary citizen, there is only a difference in financial benefits from the state. Discrimination is not the issue, but rather the redefining of established customs in order to get more money and have the state publicly affirm their choices. If money and sex are what affirms individuals, then we have a bigger problem as a society.
on March 15,2013 | 05:50AM
DowntownGreen wrote:
As long as there is a "difference in financial benefits from the state", there IS discrimination.
on March 15,2013 | 05:59AM
Kahu Matu wrote:
So by your reasoning the state discriminates against Americans who don't own a house, who have a job, who are not attending college, who have less money, who do not have kids, who are unfamiliar with the tax code, who are not from Micronesia, who do not own their own business, who are too young to get free the Bus passes, etc, etc, etc. These are merely all just ways to help benefit our society. There is no discrimination, it is just that some want more money than has been designated to them and the bigger picture is to force others to celebrate their personal choices.
on March 15,2013 | 06:14AM
soundofreason wrote:
Just be glad his kid isn't into domesticated farm animals I guess.
on March 15,2013 | 06:49AM
DowntownGreen wrote:
Sometimes ignorance is bliss, but oft times it can be pathetic and highlights what little, if any, class an individual possesses.
on March 15,2013 | 02:13PM
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