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Portman on Gay Marriage

March 17, 2013 - Joselyn King
This week conservative Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, went public with a reversal in his political thought. He now supports the idea of legalizing same-sex marriages.

He explained he previously opposed such unions, but changed his mind after the issue came within his own home. His college-age son told him two years ago he was gay.

Portman's statement came just before conservatives were to gather this weekend for the 40th annual Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Md. Most of those speaking -- including failed Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney -- noted the party must reach out to all members of society if it is to be viable in years to come.

Portman now says after much thought, he just wants his son to have the happiness he and his wife Jane -- the boy's mother -- have had for 26 years.

"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.

He said he wrestled with how to reconcile his Christian faith with his desire for his son to have the same opportunities to pursue happiness and fulfillment as his brother and sister.

"Ultimately, it came down to the Bible's overarching themes of love and compassion and my belief that we are all children of God," Portman commented.

"Well-intentioned people can disagree on the question of marriage for gay couples, and maintaining religious freedom is as important as pursuing civil marriage rights. For example, I believe that no law should force religious institutions to perform weddings or recognize marriages they don't approve of."

And Portman added he also believes in the conservative tenant that government shouldn't reach into an individual's personal life and choices.

"British Prime Minister David Cameron has said he supports allowing gay couples to marry because he is a conservative, not in spite of it," Portman explained. "I feel the same way. We conservatives believe in personal liberty and minimal government interference in people's lives. We also consider the family unit to be the fundamental building block of society. We should encourage people to make long-term commitments to each other and build families, so as to foster strong, stable communities and promote personal responsibility."

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