Courtesy of MCT
Ohio Republican Sen. Rob Portman changed his stance on same-sex marriage, becoming the first GOP senator to openly support it. Despite the growing number of politicians who openly support gay marriage, the change in position has shocked some around Ohio State’s campus.
Sam Zuidema, a second-year in history and political science and chairman of OSU College Republicans, was surprised by Portman’s change of heart.
“I was surprised at his position, as I would be for any prominent Republican politician to switch sides on this issue,” Zuidema said. “His reasoning behind his decision is one that I respect, and it was a very personal one involving his family that I will not judge.”
Sarah Teutsch, a second-year in marketing who considers herself liberal, said Portman’s stance could potentially bring out other Republicans who support same-sex marriage.
“I think there are probably people who feel the same way maybe that aren’t so strong at voicing their opinions since the major people aren’t doing it,” Teutsch said. “I think that this is a good step.”
On Friday the senator wrote a commentary for The Columbus Dispatch, stating his support for same-sex couples and their right to marry.
“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 said in the commentary.
Previously in opposition to same-sex marriage, Portman was a co-sponsor of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) passed during former President Bill Clinton’s administration.
Portman stated the reason for his change in position is his son, Will, who told the senator he was gay about two years ago.
“Knowing that my son is gay prompted me to consider the issue from another perspective,” Portman said. “That of a dad who wants all three of his kids to lead happy, meaningful lives with the people they love.”
The senator is just one in a line of prominent political figures to publicly declare their support of same-sex marriage, including former Vice President Dick Cheney, former President Bill Clinton and President Barack Obama.
During the last election cycle, Portman was a contender for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s running mate before Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., was chosen.
Ohio’s other senator, Democrat Sherrod Brown, has been a known supporter of same-sex marriage and praised Portman for his new views on marriage on Friday.
The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral cases on the Defense of Marriage Act, as well as California’s ban on same-sex marriage known as Proposition 8, at the end of March.