What Sen. Rob Portman's change of heart means for gay marriage

The Ohio Republican says his son is gay, and becomes the first GOP senator to back same-sex marriage

Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio)
(Image credit: Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images)

Ohio Sen. Rob Portman (R) is one of his party's leading fiscal hawks and was on the very short list of vice-presidential candidates vetted by 2012 presidential nominee Mitt Romney. But "now, the prominent Ohio conservative will be known for something else: Reversing his hard-line position against gay marriage," says CNN's Dana Bash. On Thursday night, several Ohio newspapers and CNN reported that Portman was becoming the first sitting Senate Republican, and one of a very few GOP federal officeholders, to openly support same-sex marriage.

Portman said his "change of heart" was based on personal experience: Two years ago, his 21-year-old son came out to him and his wife, Jane — explaining, Portman says, that being gay "was not a choice, it was who he is, and that he had been that way since he could remember."

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