Republican Senator Rob Portman, once a vocal critic of same-sex marriage and one of the top picks to run for Vice President of the United States alongside Mitt Romney, has publicly announced a change of heart on the issue.
Portman changed his mind after his son Will came out to him and his wife Jane.
‘I’m announcing today a change of heart on an issue that a lot of people feel strongly about that has to do with gay couples’ opportunity to marry,’ Portman told CNN.
‘My son came to Jane, my wife, and I, told us that he was gay, and that it was not a choice, and that it’s just part of who he is, and that’s who he’d been that way for as long as he could remember.
‘I’ve come to the conclusion that for me, personally, I think this is something that we should allow people to do, to get married, and to have the joy and stability of marriage that I’ve had for over 26 years. That I want all of my children to have, including our son.’
Portman told CNN that he had never suspected that his son was gay but met the announcement with ‘love’ and ‘support.’
Portman said that he had told the Romney presidential campaign that his son was gay and that they had made a point of telling him that this was not the reason that they eventually decided on Paul Ryan as the Republican candidate for Vice-President of the United States.
Portman told CNN that he had met with former US Vice-President Dick Cheney to help come to terms with his son’s homosexuality.
Cheney is another prominent Republican supporter of same-sex marriage after his daughter Mary came out as a lesbian.
‘He was a good person to talk to because he also was surprised by the news, in that case, you know, his wonderful daughter, who he loves very much,’ Portman said.
‘It forced him to re-think the issue too, and over time, he changed his view on it … I followed his advice. You know, I followed my heart.’
Portman had previously voted in support of the Defense of Marriage Act which bans federal recognition of same-sex marriages and voted on a bill prohibiting gay couples from adopting in Washington.
Portman’s announcement follows on the heels of a group of leading Republicans signing a legal brief in support of same-sex marriage for the US Supreme Court.