Sen. Portman becomes first sitting GOP Senator to publicly support the freedom to marry

This week, Republican Senator Rob Portman from Ohio formally announced that he now supports the freedom to marry for same-sex couples. His announcement marks the first time that a sitting Republican Senator has publicly supported marriage for same-sex couples. 

In an editorial in The Columbus Dispatch, Sen. Portman said that he reconsidered his opposition to marriage after his son Will, a junior at Yale University, came out to his parents as gay. 

He wrote:

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. 

He told reporters today: "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. 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. ... This strengthens the institution of marriage." 

Freedom to Marry applauded Sen. Portman's journey on the freedom to marry this morning. National Campaign Director Marc Solomon said:

We greatly appreciate Senator Portman's sharing his journey on the freedom to marry with his constituents and with the American people. It's a beautifully human experience for a father to listen with an open heart to his son, to reflect on his own beliefs, and conclude that he wants for his son the same opportunity for happiness that comes with being able to marry that he and his wife have had. We hope that Senator Portman's journey is an example that other Americans will look to as they reflect on their own position on the freedom to marry.

Tyler Deaton, the campaign manager for Young Conservatives for the Freedom to Marry, which works to amplify the voices of conservatives who support marriage for same-sex couples, also sounded off on Sen. Portman's journey. He said:

Senator Portman is the living, breathing future of the Republican Party right in front of our eyes. He's an authentic and consistent conservative who is showing the way to a more fiscally responsible and at the same time more socially tolerant GOP. His change of heart reflects the same thinking and feeling that many Republicans are showing as they get to know gay people and understand why marriage matters to them. We hope more of Senator Portman's Republican colleagues in Congress will join him in supporting the freedom to marry, as several have already done.