Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, a leading conservative voice in the Senate, said Friday he now believes government should not stand in the way of allowing same sex couples 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," he wrote in a commentary in the Columbus Dispatch.
Portman concedes "That isn’t how I’ve always felt. As a congressman, and more recently as a senator, I opposed marriage for same-sex couples. Then something happened that led me to think through my position in a much deeper way."
He recounts how two years ago, his son Will, then a college student, told his parents he was gay.
"He said he’d known for some time, and that his sexual orientation wasn’t something he chose; it was simply a part of who he is. Jane and I were proud of him for his honesty and courage," the senator wrote. "We were surprised to learn he is gay but knew he was still the same person he’d always been. The only difference was that now we had a more complete picture of the son we love."
Portman, who was said to be a serious contender for the 2012 Republican vice presidential nomination, went on to describe his feelings and views: