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Sen. Portman shifts on gay marriage

Published: Sat, March 16, 2013 @ 12:00 a.m.

Associated Press


A Republican senator’s embrace of gay marriage is the latest sign of soul-searching in a party struggling to adapt in a society whose demographics — and views on emotional issues — are changing fast.

Gay marriage still divides the party, with the conservative wing strongly opposed. But an increasing number of Republicans, now including Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio, are reversing course. Many others simply downplay the subject.

With the issue of immigration also shifting rapidly under Republicans’ feet, they seem increasingly focused — and united — on one overarching goal: keeping income taxes from rising.

Their solidarity on that issue is hindering President Barack Obama’s efforts to make higher tax revenue part of a compromise approach to deficit spending and expensive social programs.

These trends raise the possibility that the GOP — reeling after losing the popular vote in five of the past six presidential elections — will lessen its identity with hot-button social issues and sharpen its emphasis on tax and spending matters.

Portman announced Friday that he now supports gay marriage, linking his stand to learning that one of his sons is gay.

A former U.S. trade representative and White House budget chief, Portman is seen as one of the party’s most knowledgeable and effective leaders.

Mitt Romney considered him to be his running mate last year. Portman says he told Romney of his son Will’s sexuality but does not believe it affected Romney’s decision.

As a U.S. House member in 1996, Portman supported the Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA. It defines marriage as between a man and a woman and bars federal recognition of same-sex marriage.

Portman’s reversal makes him the only Senate Republican to openly back gay marriage.

“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,” Portman wrote in an op-ed article in The Columbus Dispatch.

He said he had talked to his pastor and others, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who opposes gay marriage, and to former Vice President Dick Cheney, who supports it.

Cheney, whose younger daughter is a lesbian, became arguably the best-known Republican to embrace gay marriage with his announcement in June 2009.


1kurtw(1822 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

So Robbie Portman switches views on gay marriage because he finds out one of his sons is gay. I'd like to know what bearing that fact has on the issue at hand?

Either restricting marriage to a man and woman makes sense, or it doesn't really matter and anybody can get together and call it a marriage. A kind of free for all. The issue should be decided on its merits: a politicians personal life has, or should have, no bearing whatsoever.

Portman's flip-flop tells me again that main-stream Republicans can't be trusted to support Conservative Causes. We need people in Washington who actually believe what they are saying- instead of wish-washy types who say what is politically expedient- and then latter- when the wind changes- move in the other direction (Portman, Mitt Romney, John McCain, the whole sorry lot).

They are so pathetic. Ronald Reagan where are you when we need you most.

P.S. If it came out that Portman's son was into bestiality- fornicating with farm animals- would Portman come out in favor of that practice as well?

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