(WASHINGTON) — A longtime opponent to same-sex marriage has dramatically changed course.
Republican Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio now says he supports marriage for same-sex couples two years after his college-aged son, Will, revealed he was gay.
In an op-ed appearing in Friday’s Columbus Dispatch, Portman says he had “to reconcile my Christian faith with my desire for Will to have the same opportunities to pursue happiness and fulfillment as his brother and sister.”
Ultimately, Portman says the Bible teaches love and compassion for “all children of God.”
The senator adds that he now supports repealing parts of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act that he backed, saying same-sex couples who marry legally in states where it’s allowed should get the federal benefits that are granted to heterosexual married couples.
Portman says that he told 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney about his gay son while being vetted last summer as a possible running mate and claims that fact wasn’t a deal-breaker.
He also discussed the issue with former Vice President Dick Cheney, the father of a gay daughter. Cheney’s advice to Portman was “Follow your heart.”
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Nate Sunderland, EastIdahoNews.com
Stephen Collinson and MJ Lee, CNN
Tom Kludt and Jeremy Diamond, CNN
Stephen Collinson, CNN