Ohio Senator Rob Portman changed his long-held stance on gay marriage after his son, Will, came out as gay. “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,” said Portman at a group interview in his office on Thursday.
Will is currently a junior at Yale University, and he came out to his parents two years ago. (Can we give him major props for being so open with a father who had voted for DOMA?) Will told his parents, “It was not a choice, it was who he is and that he had been that way since he could remember.”
We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.
Senator Portman backed DOMA in 1996 but now thinks parts of it should be repealed, and explained he is speaking out now because of the Supreme Court Case. “I thought it was the right time to let folks know where I stand so there’s no confusion, so I would be clear about it,” he said.
Portman spoke about his son’s revelation with Dick Cheney, who told him to “do the right thing, follow your heart.”
Most importantly, Portman said he made it clear to his son he loves and supports him, and this hasn’t changed his view of Will at all. His son encouraged the senator to make an announcement about his change of heart in his own time. “I think he’s happy and, you know, proud that we’ve come to this point,” said Portman. “He hasn’t pushed me, but he’s been encouraging, and he’s been very much involved.”
Senator Portman is the only sitting Republican senator to endorse same-sex marriage. Welcome to our team, Rob.