The first Republican Senator to support same-sex marriage has decided not to run for President in 2016.
Senator Portman – who sponsored the original Defence of Marriage Act banning same-sex marriage – became the first senior Republican to come out in favour of marriage equality last year, revealing that he had changed his stance when his own son came out to him as gay.
He later hinted that he would run for President, saying: “If I don’t see someone addressing those kinds of issues and providing a hopeful, optimistic future for our country then I might consider [running].”
However, after strong opposition from conservative voters who cite his support for equal marriage, Mr Portman has said he will not run for President, and will instead seek re-election as a Senator in Ohio.
He said: “While I appreciate the encouragement I have received from many to run for president, my focus will remain on Ohio and running for re-election to the Senate in 2016.
“I look forward to formally announcing my re-election campaign in the new year.”
However, he said that groups such as the anti-gay National Organisation for Marriage were ‘not a factor’ in his decision to not run.
He said: “It really wasn’t a factor. Some people say it would have hurt me. Some people say it would have helped me. The country is obviously moving on that issue.
“Truth is, most people are much more focused on other issues, including jobs and the economy.”