By LGBTQ Nation
WASHINGTON — Ohio’s conservative U.S. Sen. Rob Portman announced Thursday he has reversed his longtime opposition to same-sex marriage, saying he has evolved on the issue after learning two years ago that his now 21-year-old son, Will, is gay.
Portman said that his son, a junior at Yale University, told him that his sexual orientation was “not a choice,” and that he had been gay “since he could remember,” reported CNN.
“It allowed me to think of this issue from a new perspective, and that’s of a Dad who loves his son a lot and wants him to have the same opportunities that his brother and sister would have — to have a relationship like Jane and I have had for over 26 years,” Portman told reporters in an interview at his office.
“The overriding message of love and compassion that I take from the Bible, and certainly the Golden Rule, and the fact that I believe we are all created by our maker, that has all influenced me in terms of my change on this issue,” Portman said, adding that he feels that “in a way, this strengthens the institution of marriage.”
Portman said his son encouraged him to be public about his change in position on same-sex marriage, and blessed the idea of publicly announcing his sexual orientation.
“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 want all of my children to have, including our son, who is gay,” said Portman.
Portman said his decision to announce his new stance was not motivated by its potential political impact, and he was not sure what the fallout would be.
While in Congress, he has supported a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage, voted for the Defense of Marriage Act and voted for a bill prohibiting gay couples in Washington from adopting.
In 2011, more than 100 University of Michigan Law School graduates staged a walk out during a commencement speech by Portman in protest of his anti-LGBT voting record.
Now, with this announcement, Portman becomes the first Senate Republican to publicly support marriage equality.
He also is the first Ohio Republican in Congress to support marriage. His fellow senator, Democrat Sherrod Brown, has long backed marriage rights for lesbian and gay couples, and all four Ohio Democrats in the U.S. House do as well.
(c) LGBTQ Nation
Outlook is a media partner of LGBTQ Nation