Current Affairs

Rob Portman: My support of equal marriage has been ‘helpful’, say voters

Ashley Chhibber July 16, 2014
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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.

Senator Rob Portman of Ohio made the comments in an interview with Mike Allen of Politico.

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.

A poll soon afterwards suggested that, alongside the public criticism he has faced from opponents of equal marriage, he was also losing support from Republican voters.

Nevertheless, last week he hinted in an interview with the Washington Post that he was considering running as a presidential candidate in the 2016 elections.

This seems to match predictions made by Republican Senator Jeff Flake, who said it was “inevitable” that a future Republican candidate for the US presidency would support same-sex marriage.

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.

Related topics: equal marriage, gay marriage, gop, presidential candidate, Republican, rob portman, same sex marriage, US

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