A prominent conservative senator said Thursday that he now supports gay marriage.
Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, told reporters from the Columbus Dispatch
and other Ohio newspapers that his change of heart on the hot-button
issue came two years after his son, Will, told him and his wife that he
"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 said.
In an interview with CNN,
Portman said his son, then a freshman at Yale University, told him
"that he was gay, and that it was not a choice, and that it's just part
of who he is, and that he'd been that way for as long as he could
The dramatic announcement comes just a week before the U.S. Supreme
Court is to hear oral arguments on the Defense of Marriage Act, which
bars federal recognition of same-sex marriage, a measure Portman
co-sponsored as a member of the House in 1996.
Portman was on the short list to be Mitt Romney's running mate last
year. He said he informed Romney during the vetting process that he had a
gay son, but that the issue was not a deal breaker for Romney.
He also told CNN that he sought guidance from former Vice President Dick Cheney, whose daughter Mary is openly gay.
Portman said Cheney's advice to him was simple: "Follow your heart."