First GOP U.S. Senator backs same-sex marriage

Senator Rob Portman

Senator Rob Portman

BY CHRIS JOHNSON
Washington Blade

In a surprising and historical development, U.S. Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) on Thursday became the first sitting Republican senator to come out in favor of same-sex marriage. Several media outlets reported this news late Thursday night. The Ohio Republican said he grew to support marriage equality after his son Will, a student at Yale University, came out as gay to his family two years ago and said he’d been that way as long as he can remember.

Moreover, Portman reportedly said he believes part of the Defense of Marriage Act, which is currently under review by the U.S. Supreme Court, should be repealed. Section 3 of that law prohibits federal benefits from flowing to married same-sex couples. Portman’s new position marks a significant turnaround from his voting record as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1993 to 2005. During his tenure in the lower chamber of Congress, Portman voted for DOMA and a proposed constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriage in 2004.

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