Portman Announces Support for Gay Marriage

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Rob Portman, a possible 2016 presidential contender, announced Friday that he now supports gay marriage rights -- a "change of heart" he arrived at after his son Will confided that he was gay.

The Ohio Republican, who was vetted as a possible GOP vice presidential nominee in 2012, revealed his position change in an interview with CNN and a newspaper opinion piece.

"My son came to Jane — my wife — and I, told us that he was gay and that it was not a choice," Portman said in the interview, adding that the news led to a very personal process for the senator that included discussions with clergy. "During my career in the House and also the last couple years here in the Senate, you know, I've taken a position against gay marriage," he said.

Portman also wrote an opinion piece in Friday's Columbus Dispatch to expand on how his position has evolved, saying that he heard from his son two years ago. He acknowledged that younger people overwhelmingly support gay marriage. "In some respects, the issue has become more generational than partisan," Portman wrote.

"I wrestled with how 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, for me, it came down to the Bible’s overarching themes of love and compassion and my belief that we are all children of God," Portman wrote.

A separate report in the Dispatch notes that the announcement is timed not long before the Supreme Court takes up the question of same-sex marriage rights and the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act, which the paper says Portman now opposes.

He also noted in the opinion piece that several states, as well as Washington, D.C., have recognized same-sex marriages in recent years.

"I’ve thought a great deal about this issue, and like millions of Americans in recent years, I’ve changed my mind on the question of marriage for same-sex couples," he wrote. "As we strive continually as a nation to form a more perfect union, I believe all of our sons and daughters ought to have the same opportunity to experience the joy and stability of marriage."