WASHINGTON — Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio, a rising national star in the Republican Party, announced Friday that he has a gay son and could no longer justify his opposition to same-sex marriage.
Portman’s revelation makes him the only sitting Republican senator to publicly support giving gay men and lesbians the right to marry, and one of the most prominent members of his party so far to speak out on the issue.
In an op-ed published in The Columbus Dispatch and a series of interviews — in which Portman at times nervously wringed his hands — he said that he did not want his son treated any differently because of his sexuality.
“I’ve come to the conclusion that for me, personally, I think this is something that we should allow people to do, to get married, and to have the joy and stability of marriage that I’ve had for over 26 years," he told CNN. “That I want all of my children to have, including our son, who is gay."
Portman’s announcement comes at a time when the Republican Party is more split than ever over the question of gay rights.