Senator Rob Portman: Republican party will eventually support same-sex marriage

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Republican Senator Rob Portman has said he is “glad” he made the decision to back equal marriage – and thinks his party will join him eventually.

Senator Portman – who sponsored the original Defence of Marriage Act banning same-sex marriage –  became the first senior Republican to come out in favour of marriage equality last year, revealing that he had changed his stance when his own son came out to him as gay.

Speaking to Politics Confidential this week, he opened up about the decision.

He said: “It’s been actually a very emotional issue. I hadn’t thought about it deeply until my son came to me, and said dad I’m gay and have been as long as I can remember.

“That obviously changed my focus on the issue, I thought about it more deeply and the fact that it is not a choice, and my son deserves to have the same happiness that [wife] Jane and I have had, and the joy and civility that comes with marriage.

“It’s a position I feel very comfortable with – I’m glad I made it.”

When asked whether the Republican party will eventually back equality, he said: “I don’t know, I think so eventually.

“Every week, someone will come up to me and say ‘thanks to you talking about this publicly, my dad’s talking to me for the first time about it’.

“In one case, a father came to me and said if I talked to my son the way you talked to yours, he’d be with us today. This was a kid that committed suicide.

“It’s a very emotional issue.”

The Senator also again refused to rule out a Presidential run in 2016 – which some have pointed out could see him in a Republican primary as the only candidate with a pro-gay stance.