US Republican Senator Rob Portman favours gay unions

 
Rob Portman speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington 15 February 2011 Senator Rob Portman wrote of how he had "wrestled" with his faith

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Influential US Republican Senator Rob Portman has renounced his opposition to gay marriage.

The Ohio senator said he began to change his mind in 2011 after his son, Will, revealed he was gay.

Sen Portman said that his former views on marriage had stemmed from his Methodist faith.

In 1996, as a member of the House of Representatives, he voted for the Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as between a man and a woman.

He also voted in 1999 against allowing gay couples in Washington DC to adopt children.

Senator's surprise

The gay marriage issue has increasingly divided the Republican party, with some members arguing that opposition to same-sex unions contributed to the party's losses nationally in last November's elections.

Start Quote

Ultimately, it came down to my belief that we are all children of God”

End Quote Senator Rob Portman

Sen Portman, who was considered a potential running mate for Republican White House candidate Mitt Romney, announced his change of heart in interviews with several Ohio newspapers.

"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 an opinion piece for the Columbus Dispatch.

"That isn't how I've always felt," he wrote. "As a congressman, and more recently as a senator, I opposed marriage for same-sex couples."

His son posted a message on Twitter, saying: "Especially proud of my dad today".

Sen Portman said to Ohio newspapers that his son Will, now 21 and a student at Yale University, told him being gay was "not a choice", and that he had been gay "since he could remember".

The Ohio senator said he and his wife, Jane, had been surprised but also supportive.

The father of three said he had confided in the pastor of his church in Cincinnati about the issue.

He also spoke to Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, who opposes gay marriage, and to former Vice-President Dick Cheney, who supports it. Mr Cheney's daughter is a lesbian.

US gay marriage laws

A same-sex couple marry in San Francisco in June 2008
  • Same-sex marriage has been passed in New York, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Iowa, Vermont, Washington DC, Connecticut, Maryland and Washington
  • Thirty-one US states have banned same-sex marriage through law or constitutional amendment

Sen Portman told the newspapers that Mr Romney had been informed about Will's sexuality last year.

Mr Romney spoke out last May against gay marriage, a week after President Barack Obama took the political gamble of announcing his support for such unions.

Sen Portman said he had struggled with reconciling his Christian faith and his desire to see his son have the same opportunities for relationships as his siblings.

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

Sen Portman said he would like Congress to repeal the provision of the Defense of Marriage Act (Doma), which bans federal recognition of gay marriage.

But he argued that states should not be forced to recognise such unions.

Sen Portman said in his opinion piece: "Judicial intervention from Washington would circumvent that process as it's moving in the direction of recognising marriage for same-sex couples.

"An expansive court ruling would run the risk of deepening divisions rather than resolving them."

Nine US states and the District of Columbia fully recognise gay marriage, including several states which legalised the unions through a popular vote in 2012.

The announcement comes just over a week before the US Supreme court will hear arguments in two cases related to gay marriage. One challenges Doma.

 

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  • Comment number 350.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 349.

    "...his former views on marriage had stemmed from his Methodist faith."

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

    Goodness me. Subtract Thuh Baahbul from both sides, and what's left? American friends, why must you insist on electing people who are so nakedly incapable of thinking for themselves?

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 348.

    Everyone who opposes marriage equality for the LGBT community do so out of a belief that marriage holds a special place in society that shouldn't be messed with.

    I believe that the VERY reason why these people oppose marriage equality is why we SHOULD have it!! Because when you strip away their arguments, at the core is a belief that gay people are not worthy of this social recognition..

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 347.

    can someone who opposes gay rights tell me why they oppose it? how does gay rights threaten ur beliefs or threaten the sanctity of marriage? why does the happiness of others threaten ur happiness? u need to quit judging others, like the bible says dont judge others. why does is bother people so much. the time and money spent on the topic of gay marriage is amazing!

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 346.

    344.Worm

    One thing I like about Christianity is how it used to be "The Gospel ACCORDING to Matthew" or the "Gospel ACCORDING to Luke" But then as the centuries went by they dropped the, "according to" bit and repleced it with "of". Why did they drop that "according to" bit? Was it not factual enough for them so they had to change it?

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 345.

    Well, it's more like,

    Christians say marriage is only between a man and woman and God's laws are above man and accuse homosexuals of trying to "hijack" marriage and in doing so "devalues marriage"

    Whilst Homosexuals and those who support them offer that Christianity does not own the concept of marriage and if you don't agree with them then you are a hater and a bigot.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 344.

    So I read this whole thing and can sum it up
    Christians say marriage is only between a man and woman and God's laws are above man.

    Homosexuals say that if you don't agree with them then you are a hater and a bigot.

    politicians flip flop and can never be trusted.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 343.

    Just got back from chick fil a. Did I miss anything? Wow over 300 comments.
    chick fil a is so delicious.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 342.

    I despise people like this, of which there are far too many in the UK. So he only recognised the validity of human variation when his son turned out to be gay? And if his son decided to become another Nazi, that would have been ok too? Any intelligent person should be able to imagine the plight of another, without needing a family reference.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 341.

    Well yes, I put that homophobic stuff in the Bible, but you have to remember that I was the god of very conservative desert people. Like Sen. Portman, I've had time to think over the last few millennia. Also, as you know, Jesus is very liberal and persuasive. His point is, 'how can I condemn them if I made them that way?' I'm a bit embarrassed, but are you going to tell ME I can't change my mind?

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 340.

    "Portman cannot be a true Mehodist and just up and change his mind...doesn't work that way."

    That says a lot about religion.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 339.

    While I am pleased with the net effect of his reversal, I find it troubling that Portman allowed his religious views to color his stance on the matter to begin with, and only changed his mind in light of his personal affinity to his son. Just as principles of a political nature should not be colored by religion, neither should they be colored by personal relationships.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 338.

    336.kelvin pillay

    I read it, and it makes no sense, just becuase I am mortal does not mean I can't prove something. I'll show you, I can prove the Earth is a sphere even though I'm mortal. Google image, "Earth from space.". There you see, you're wrong.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 337.

    I don't understand how religion enters into it. Marriage is as secular or as religious as the participants want it to be. When it comes to the purview of the (secular) State, marriage can only be defined in a secular manner.

    If a religion's doctrines define marriage in a particular way, no one may infringe upon its right to do so. But the mandate of the State is to enfranchise *all* its citizens.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 336.

    335. Golgotha
    please read the remaining of my post,
    we are all mortal , HE is not !!!. YOU WILL ONE DAY DIE AND SO WILL ALL YOUR WORDS AND THOUGHTS, SO WHAT CAN YOU PROVE IF U CANNOT EVEN SUSTAIN YOUR VERY OWN LIFE ???? !!!. what u say or do doesnt matter cos the words of mankind certainly do not control the movements or our universe.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 335.

    334.kelvin pillay

    "i will say it to you again , no matter what you or any one else says, does or thinks wont disprove God and who He is "

    Why don't you try me then? If I can via a contradiction in your, "perfect being" show you that He is, in fact, imperfect due to the contradiction and in being so doesn't truly exist, would you be willing to agree that your deity doesn't exist?

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 334.

    329. Golgotha
    i will say it to you again , no matter what you or any one else says, does or thinks wont disprove God and who He is , we are all mortal , HE is not !!!. you will soon die and so will all your words and thoughts !!!. what u say or do doesnt matter cos the words of mankind certainly do not control the movements or our universe.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 333.

    328.CURTAINS 2012
    "In fluid plumbing, all "unions" involve a male component and a female component"
    so bowel movements r just for straight people? what does plumbing have to do with gay rights?

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 332.

    This comment was removed because the moderators of BBC don't believe in free speech.

    I love Chick-fil-A!!

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 331.

    326. HaroldGodwinson
    u still dont get it !!!, am not arguing with anyone, just simply letting everyone know that no matter what ANYONE says or does, NO ONE can nullify GOD'S WORD !!!.its all that simple cos at the end of it all , HE is the ultimate judge of all mankind !!!

 

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