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Senator Rob Portman Reverses Course On Marriage Equality

Rob Portman

Rob Portman (Photo credit: Be the Change, Inc.)

Senator Robert Portman of Ohio, a Republican, has come out in favor of same-sex marriage. The reversal has a lot to do with reasons similar to those of VT State Senator Kevin Mullin and his choice to support same-sex marriage in Vermont. Portman learned two years ago that his son is gay.

Portman told Ohio reporters that “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’s son is now a junior at Yale. After his son came out to him, Portman turned to clergy and friends to discuss the matter, and even to former Vice President Dick Cheney who told him to follow his heart on the matter. Mary Cheney, the daughter of Dick Cheney, is openly lesbian.

Portman said that “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’s record on LGBT rights has always been rather openly hostile including his cosponsoring of the Defense of Marriage Act, a law that is now before the US Supreme Court. In 2011, his hostility to LGBT Americans saw students at the University of Michigan protest against him. At the time, his spokesman said “Rob believes marriage is a sacred bond between one man and one woman.”

Portman was a possible vice presidential candidate for Mitt Romney, but his son’s sexual orientation may have cost him that. Portman stated that “I told Mitt Romney everything. That process is, intrusive would be one way to put it. But, no, yeah, I told him everything.” The Romney camp told Portman that his son’s sexuality did not play a part in the choice to go with Paul Ryan, but that is somewhat hard to verify.

In an op-ed for the Columbus Dispatch, Portman said “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.”

It is not atypical for people with lesbian, gay or bisexual relatives to be more accepting of LGBT rights. This largely has to do with the fact that they have to reconcile the image created by the propaganda with the reality of having a loved one who doesn’t appear to be a sex-addicted pedophilic gay Satan worshiper…though, yes, some gays do worship satin.



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