Ohio senator Rob Portman cites individual choice on marriage

COLUMBUS, Ohio - A Republican U.S. senator who last month shook up the gay marriage debate by announcing his support says he has been asked a lot about his shift while back home in Ohio.

Rob Portman says the economy and deficit are his top priorities as he prepares to return to Washington, but same-sex marriage has also come up repeatedly during his Ohio travels the last two weeks.

"People have been very respectful and I've had a lot of good conversations about it," Portman told WBNS-TV (http://bit.ly/14OVrwO ) in Columbus. He said some people are concerned that churches could have to perform same-sex weddings.

"I don't think churches should be required to perform weddings they don't approve of, or recognize marriages they don't approve of, and that's something I've talked to a lot of Ohioans about this past week that I've been home," Portman said Wednesday while touring a medical devices company in suburban Columbus. "This is not about telling churches what they have to do. It's about letting individuals make that choice for themselves."

Portman acknowledges that his new viewpoint came after his son Will told his parents he is gay. But the senator said studying the issue convinced him that supporting it was the right thing to do.

"I had a change of heart based on a personal situation, but the more I think about it and the more I was able to delve into the issue, the more I believe that this is something that would be better, actually, for stability and the kinds of benefits you get from marriage," Portman said.

"I suspect that people who have colleagues or friends or family who are gay who talk to them; in my case, my son did talk to me about my positions on the issues, and that can be very influential," he said.

The first-term senator from the Cincinnati area said he didn't discussed the issue with Illinois Republican Mark Kirk before his colleague this week became the second GOP senator to announce support of same-sex marriage.

"We have different points of view in our caucus on this obviously," Portman said.

Print this article Back to Top

Comments

Related Stories

Delay denied in ruling on Va. gay marriage ban Delay denied in ruling on Va. gay marriage ban

A federal appeals court has denied a request to delay its ruling striking down Virginia's same-sex marriage ban.

Target publicly endorses same-sex marriage Target publicly endorses same-sex marriage

Target Corp. is adding its name to a legal defense of gay marriage, joining other large companies that have taken a stand on same-sex unions.

Court hearing gay marriage arguments from 4 states Court hearing gay marriage arguments from 4 states

A federal appeals court will hear arguments in gay marriage fights from Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee in the biggest session of its kind so far.

US court: Va. gay marriage ban unconstitutional US court: Va. gay marriage ban unconstitutional

A federal appeals court has struck down Virginia's same-sex marriage ban.

Indiana won Indiana won't recognize same-sex marriages

The governor's office says Indiana won't recognize hundreds of same-sex marriages performed before a court halted a decision that lifted the state's ban.

Judge strikes down Indiana ban on gay marriage Judge strikes down Indiana ban on gay marriage

A federal judge has struck down Indiana's ban on gay marriage, calling it unconstitutional.

Wisconsin judge puts same-sex marriages on hold Wisconsin judge puts same-sex marriages on hold

Same-sex marriages have been put on hold in Wisconsin by a federal judge who last week struck down the state's gay marriage ban as unconstitutional.

Judge strikes down Wisconsin gay marriage ban Judge strikes down Wisconsin gay marriage ban

A federal judge has struck down Wisconsin's ban on same-sex marriage, and despite confusion over the ruling, clerks in Madison and Milwaukee say they'll start marrying people immediately.

Gay weddings become reality in Hawaii with new law Gay weddings become reality in Hawaii with new law

Hawaii issued 40 licenses for same-sex marriages Monday as gay marriages began in the state with six couples at a Waikiki resort exchanging vows side-by-side in front of a few hundred guests.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel blasts 9 states defying Pentagon Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel blasts 9 states defying Pentagon's military same-sex benefits policy

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Thursday sharply criticized U.S. states that are defying the Pentagon.