Republican senator reverses his opposition to gay marriage after his 21-year-old son comes out at Yale University
Ohio Republican senator Rob Portman announced he had changed his position on gay marriage today. The vocal opponent against same-sex marriage said he had been given a ‘new perspective’ after his 21-year-old son, Will, came out. The Yale University student told the senator and his wife, Jane, that he was gay two years ago. Portman, who sought advice from Dick Cheney whose daughter is a lesbian in a same-sex marriage, said he wanted his son to have the ‘same opportunities’ in life as his two other children. Reports The Daily Mail
Portman, who backed the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, says since his son’s announcement he has been reconsidering his views on homosexuality and same-sex marriage.
He said he had spent some time speaking to his church in Cincinnati and former Vice President Dick Cheney, whose daughter is gay.
Today he wanted to officially and publicly reverse his political position on the issue.
‘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 the local paper.
‘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.’
He added that he believed opening marriage up to homosexual couples ‘strengthens the institution’ and he realized his son’s sexuality ‘wasn’t a choice’.
He said his son had not exerted any influence on him politically but supported his new position and ‘encouraged’ him.
Though surprised by his son’s announcement, the senator said he and his wife were ‘100 percent supportive’ of their middle son who has an older brother Jed, 22, and younger sister Sally, 18.
‘He’s an amazing young man,’ he added.
He said he had told the Romney campaign about his son when he was being considered by the campaign as a possible Vice-President candidate.
He said Cheney, whose daughter Mary got married to her long-term partner in Washington D.C. last year, had encouraged him to ‘follow his heart’.
The announcement wasn’t the beginning of a career as a gay marriage campaigner though, he said.
He said he didn’t want to push his personal views on others and still believes religious institutions should not be compelled to perform marriage ceremonies for same-sex couples.
But he did say he is now opposed to the Defense of Marriage Act and supports states deciding on gay marriage.
He said he had not considered how the position would affect him politically.
He is conservative on social issues but specializes in economics which he focused on during his 2010 election campaign.
He has previously also voted against allowing gay couples to adopt children, according to The Columbus Dispatch.