The gay son of Ohio Senator Rob Portman tweeted today he is ‘especially proud of my dad’ who’s become the highest-profile Republican to support gay marriage.
Portman told CNN that after his son, Will Portman, came out to him, he began to rethink his previous position against gay marriage. He said his son told him ‘it was not a choice’ and that ‘it’s just part of who he is.’
Said the senator: ‘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’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. which is set to hear cases challenging the Defense of Marriage Act and California’s Proposition 8 next week.
As a congressman in 1996, Portman backed the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act but now thinks part of the law should be repealed.
‘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 in an op-ed that ran today in the Columbus Dispatch.
Before the news became public, Portman called Speaker of the House John Boehner to tell him of his decision.
Boehner spokesman Michael Steel said in a statement: ‘Senator Portman is a great friend and ally, and the Speaker respects his position, but the Speaker continues to believe that marriage is between a man and a woman.’
Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign, welcomed Portman’s support of gay marriage.
‘Thanks to fair-minded American leaders like Senator Portman, more people across the country are pausing to reflect and change,’ Griffin said. ‘Soon, every parent will have the chance to see their child grow up and experience a loving, committed relationship that is no less than equal.’