GOP senator becomes backer of gay marriage

WASHINGTON — Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio has become one of the most prominent elected Republicans to announce his support for same-sex marriage, a "change of heart" that he said began when his son told him that he was gay.

Portman, who was on Mitt Romney's shortlist of potential running mates in 2012, told CNN on Thursday that he views his new stance as consistent with his political philosophy, "including family values, including being a conservative who believes the family is a building block of society."

"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. That I want all of my children to have, including our son," he said.

Portman's announcement, which he also explained in an op-ed article in the Columbus Dispatch, comes as the GOP is in the midst of a post-election period of introspection and just a week before the Supreme Court is to hear oral arguments on whether to uphold Proposition 8, California's 2008 ballot measure that banned same-sex unions.

Ohio also has a voter-passed measure that bans same-sex marriage. Portman said he might support a new attempt to overturn the ban in his state.

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