Rob Portman: My support of equal marriage has been ‘helpful’, say voters
The first Republican senator to support same-sex marriage, and a potential presidential candidate, has said that his support and “willingness to talk” about his gay son have been “helpful” to voters struggling on the issue.
Asked about “the most encouraging, unplanned encounter or thing that someone has said to you or shared with you” since he announced his support for equal marriage, he replied: “It actually happens all the time. A week does not go by when someone doesn’t come up to me and say something.”
He continued: “Sometimes, people disagree with me, and that’s fine, I respect their point of view; but for the most part, people come up to me and say that my willingness to talk about this has been helpful to them and to their families.
“More and more people, because like me they had a family member or a friend or a colleague, who was gay have come to understand that this is not a choice, that this is who people are, and that we should respect people for who they are.”
Sen. Portman, who was among the original sponsors of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), reversed his stance on equal marriage last year, and attributed his new support for same-sex marriage to his son coming out as gay.
In announcing his support for equal marriage in 2013, Sen. Portman became the first Republican senator to do so. He has since been followed by Mark Kirk (Illinois), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Susan Collins (Maine), bringing the total of Republican senators in favour of equal marriage up to four.