(CNN) - Hours after Republican Sen. Rob Portman announced he reversed his position on same-sex marriage, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said he won't second guess Portman but he's not entirely embracing the Ohio senator's change of heart, either.
Portman told CNN's Dana Bash that after his 21-year-old son came out two years ago, he came to the conclusion that same-sex marriage "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," Portman said. "That I want all of my children to have, including our son, who is gay."
Their son, Will, tweeted Friday morning, saying he is "especially proud of my dad today."
Gingrich acknowledged on CNN's "Starting Point" that when an immediate family member reveals that he or she is gay, there are typically three responses.
"You can say I believe my principles so much, I'm kicking you out. You can say I still believe in my principles, but I love you. Or you can say, gee, I love you so much I am changing my principles," Gingrich said. "Rob picked the third path. That's his prerogative."
The former presidential candidate stands by his own belief that a marriage is between a man and a woman, and argued the traditional definition will stay in place "no matter what politicians decide."
"I don't think they have the power to change what is a religiously inspired definition," he aid.
Some on the right applauded the senator's decision. Gregory T. Angelo, executive director of the Log Cabin Republicans, said in a statement "if there was any doubt that the conservative logjam on the issue of civil marriage for committed gay and lesbian couples has broken, Senator Portman's support for the freedom to marry has erased it."
"(His) evolution on this issue highlights how personal it is for Americans – whether they're the Junior Senator from Ohio or your next-door neighbor, all Americans have a gay friend, colleague or family member, and understand them to be as deserving as their straight counterparts of the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness that are the promise of the United States," Angelo continued.
The Human Rights Campaign, which advocates for gay rights, issued a statement saying Portman "made the basic and courageous choice to put parenting before politics."
"When it comes to marriage equality, all Americans are on the same journey toward recognizing our common humanity," Chad Griffin, the group's president, said. "But while 8 in 10 Americans know a gay or lesbian person, it still takes unique courage to speak out publicly for equality.
- CNN's Ashley Killough, Shannon Travis and Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.