March 15th, 2013
09:49 AM ET
10 years ago

Portman stirs mixed reaction with same-sex marriage reversal

(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."

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"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.

Filed under: Newt Gingrich • Rob Portman • Same-sex marriage
soundoff (33 Responses)
  1. fiftyfive55

    Anything for a vote.

    March 15, 2013 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  2. Typical!

    Republicans seem to lack the ability to "walk a mile (or even stand) in another person's shoes" when it comes to thinking about social policy. It is the same on anti-poverty efforts or healthcare reform efforts. "Doesn't affect me personally so why should I care about those other people." I know of some conservatives who rhetorically beat up on the poor a lot, then lost their own jobs, applied for unemployment, and STILL keep ragging on on those other people, the "parasites sucking at the govt teat". Total disconnect.

    March 15, 2013 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  3. sonnie3

    To change his mind because of his son is showing what a waffler he is. If you don't stand for anything you will fall for everything. Portman is a flipflopper because of one person, His son??

    March 15, 2013 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  4. The Real Tom Paine

    Fair s Fair

    You've got Barack Obama and you've got Rob Portman. Both men change their views on the very same topic. One man's "position has evolved" and one is a "flip flopper". Why the difference? Anyone?
    The people that understand that your feelings on an issue can change and evolve over time, usually due to personal experience or empathy, will get it and applaud it. Just because the President's views have changed over time, due to knowing people who are gay, does not make his change in position any less valid than Portman's. Considering the fact that Dick Cheney's daughter's sexual oreientation was known when he became Vice-President and no one of any real substance objected to him proves that you can be in favor of Gay Rights and not pay a price, except in the more Neo- Taliban segments of our society. I just applaud Senator Portman for being a good father.

    March 15, 2013 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  5. Jeff California

    I admire this man and his son for facing the truth and doing it with dignity. As for Mr. Gingrich...I just do not know how he can sit there with such a straight face and talk about traditional marriage. He should be ashamed of himself.

    March 15, 2013 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  6. Sly

    Yeah, let's listen to Newt on marriage: "Marriage is great, especially if you can cheat on your wife and hump a bunch of 16 year olds like I did. Those are real Republican Family Values where you can get to know the family next doors teenage daughter".

    Yep, nothing like listening to a Republican talk about values.

    March 15, 2013 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  7. Wake up People!

    @Fair is Fair.

    I would say the difference is President Obama didn't wait until one of his children came out of the closet to change his mind. I feel exactly like the POTUS did. I was raised in a Methodist Church, I sang in the choir and I was always told homosexuality was an abomination. However as I have grown older and experienced massive amounts of discrimination, I have decided I will not discriminate against anyone. I am the judge of nobody. People are people.

    March 15, 2013 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  8. Pete

    Now because of his gay son coming out of the closet he's changing positions on gay anything,pretty pathedic because if this didn't happen he'd be still burning gays at the stake as most sanctumonious republicans still do.And Newt Gingrich the new catholic spokeman for the republican party,the same Newt guilty of how many adultress affairs now speaks as only a sanctumonious hypocrite would from the side of his ignorent ,self righteous mouth,totally pathedic ..But you know posters you expect anything these days especially from the republicans because they bend or change as fast as the day advances and don't be in denile either posters because you've seen that its true and this is another shining example isn't it!!

    March 15, 2013 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
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