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Will Portman Says He's 'Especially Proud' of His Dad for Coming Out for Marriage Equality


As you may know, Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) last night became the first sitting Republican U.S. Senator to support marriage equality, telling CNN's Dana Bash that he evolved on the issue after his son told him he was gay.

Will Portman, his son, praised his dad on Twitter early this morning, writing "Especially proud of my dad today".

The younger Portman goes to Yale, according to his Twitter profile, and has an interest in "int'l development, prisons, Latin America, whitewater kayaking, @sporcle, lots more."

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  1. An interest in prisons?

    Posted by: Paul R | Mar 15, 2013 12:33:58 PM

  2. Your dad is scum.

    Posted by: Fenrox | Mar 15, 2013 12:40:53 PM

  3. I like the idea that we should be in anyway gracious when these jerks finally get around to accepting us but no. They cemented their irrelevance and the fact that at the end they finally come around, to me, just drives the point further that they shouldn't be respected, listened to or kept in office. Like an adult finally learning how to use the toilet, and what? You want me to be proud or happy?

    Posted by: Fenrox | Mar 15, 2013 12:43:30 PM

  4. This is how progress is made people. Also, Paul R, probably prison reform.

    Posted by: kennedy | Mar 15, 2013 12:43:49 PM

  5. it speaks volumes about the sorry-state of our species, in regards to having any concept of the perpetuation of prejudice against targeted groups, when it's major headlining news that....what? a republican senator made the brave decision to be.....a decent human being?

    because that's what it means. you're not "amazing" for supporting LGBT Equality, or gay marriage. You're a decent human being.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Mar 15, 2013 12:48:46 PM

  6. that said, a republican becoming a decent human being *does* seem newsworthy. i stand corrected.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Mar 15, 2013 12:49:10 PM

  7. I'm sure he loves his dad. But Dad's positions are inconsistent, hypocritical, and still fundamentally anti-gay.

    I'm glad you came out, kid, and I'm glad your dad has changed some of his ideas. I'm sure you'll continue to work on him. In the meantime, though, I'd step away from the Twitter for a while.

    Posted by: BobN | Mar 15, 2013 12:53:54 PM

  8. On one hand, I guess we should all be happy about this announcement in that it drives another stake into the anti-gay lobby. On the other hand, it's dismaying that politicians (of all stripes) seem to require a personal investment into an issue to do what's right. If our leaders simply put logic and justice over their own selfish politicking, gay marriage wouldn't be an issue at all.

    Posted by: ace1981 | Mar 15, 2013 12:53:54 PM

  9. Ugh, big deal. The only time Republicans "evolve" on the issue is when they retire or if they have a gay kid. Even the Republicans are willing to give transgressors a pass on the matter if they don't squawk too much about it while in office.

    But that's it. The rest end up like the unfortunate head of the Illinois Republican party who nearly lost his job for supporting equality and three state senators run out of office in New York for voting their conscious and not the party line. Trust me, Portman would still be a jackass on the issue if not for his dumb kid.

    Posted by: Ozu | Mar 15, 2013 12:58:11 PM

  10. your dad aint all that kid - he still thinks YOU SHOULD BEG for your rights from each and every state......your dad can kiss my ass.

    Posted by: disgusted american | Mar 15, 2013 12:59:36 PM

  11. it should be the other way around. Dad should be saying "I'm astounded at the strength of my own son to Come Out to me despite my longstanding oppositing to LGBT people and their rights to equality and fair treatment. I can't even fathom how hard his life must have been spending more than 20 years knowing his family and his family's chosen political affiliates consider him a second-class citizen"

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Mar 15, 2013 1:05:08 PM

  12. Yes, I am glad for the elder's support. It does add to the collective voice. But as pointed out more elegantly (or more blatantly) by some of the above comments, what has happened to our ability to have compassion without a situation smacking us right in the face. As with Gov. Scott of Florida saying that he's now in support of Affordable Care Act because of what he saw his mother go through. Compassion is to understand, even feel for someone else's suffering without need to necessarily go through that ourselves. This is a uniquely human capacity that so many on the right seem to be lacking.
    So, I'm glad that Will came out to his father and put a real face on Gay issues. It's a start, just a start...

    Posted by: daya | Mar 15, 2013 1:12:04 PM

  13. What this kid's now going to learn is that there are a hell of a lot of petty, hateful, close-minded, bitter gay men in the world.

    E.g.: "He should step away from Twitter for a while." Why? Because your hate may spew forth at him? Just dreadful.

    Posted by: NotA | Mar 15, 2013 1:34:39 PM

  14. "But as pointed out more elegantly (or more blatantly) by some of the above comments, what has happened to our ability to have compassion without a situation smacking us right in the face."

    This is so true, and, in my opinion, is a huge elephant in the room that nobody is noticing. It goes beyond the liberal-conservative dialectic. Though conservatives are more likely to be guilty of it, I'm sure, for example, some of the parents who subjected their children to humiliation on Jimmy Kimmel's cruel video segments were card-carrying democrats. It seems like the short-attention span, internet echo-chamber so many people live in keeps people from being able to stop for just a second and think "am I having as much empathy for those around me as I should?" I come from a large family and the sibling who is most involved in social media is the one who's the most disconnected from the reality of what other people, both in the family and out of it, think of their actions. It may seem like the pot calling the kettle black, I've had some pretty epic vitriol right on this forum, but I think I've only really lashed out at the worst offenders. Like the trolls who appeared after Obama's re-election to say he was the worst president for gay rights ever. When, of course, the opposite is true and his opponent would have been the worst ever.
    This good news is this is another nail in the coffin of Republican intransigence on this issue; the bad news is it's a pretty big coffin to bury and we are decades away from the issue really being put to rest. I think we are in for a disappointment from the Supreme Court - brace yourselves.

    Posted by: EchtKultig | Mar 15, 2013 1:42:16 PM

  15. These comments are totally out of line, although typical of this site. The son isn't writing as an angry gay rights activist, which is the perspective you guys are taking. I understand your anger from that perspective. But the son is writing as someone who just came out to his father, which must have been an incredibly scary thing to do given his father's very public anti gay stance. And from his son's perspective, I'm sure his father is a hero. He apparently totally embraced his son, and did a very public about turn on a very hot button issue. The senator is certainly taking abuse from the gay community, which I'm sure he expected, but he's also taking a very real risk with his constituency. Ohio leans against gay marriage so he's now out of step with his constituents, but more importantly voters will really resent that they voted for a senator that shared their anti gay views, and he abandoned them for the sake of his son. So we can say he's still a bigot, or selfish or whatever, but the son has to be amazed at his father's reaction, and his tweet is exactly the right reaction of a son proud, and probably shocked, at his father's reaction.

    Posted by: Brian | Mar 15, 2013 1:44:25 PM

  16. @ Brian:
    I am a 100% with you man. You are right on this.

    Posted by: ElCid | Mar 15, 2013 1:53:43 PM

  17. Your dad is a jerk who forgets he has constituents.

    I'm doing a slow burn on this . ... and sorry, Will ... though I'm glad your dad had this particular revelation and is seemingly cool with your being gay, his selfishness in only coming to this conclusion when it affects him personally makes him an utter failure as a public representative - and doubly so as a U.S. Senator, the second highest elected public office one can hold. He's pathetic and should retire in shame. That does not mean he's a bad dad, but he's disgraceful as a senator.

    Posted by: Zlick | Mar 15, 2013 1:54:10 PM

  18. Wonderful news. If gay people want equality, we must be out of the closet. This is one more example that coming out will change society for the better.

    Posted by: DB | Mar 15, 2013 1:55:07 PM

  19. I second what Brian said, though I would temper it slightly, as Will didn't call his dad a "hero" -- he said he was especially proud of him today, presumably because he recognizes that his dad has evolved on an issue and really let go of some very deeply ingrained beliefs. Is Senator Portman where he should be yet? Probably not. But he has come a long way, and it is these types of stories that really have an impact on those who come from a similar starting point. We all have limited energy and resources. I don't intend to expend mine complaining about how someone who has recently begun to show support for marriage equality wasn't with us all along. I think our energy is better spent by criticizing our current foes, encouraging our allies and persuading those in the middle.

    Posted by: Rob | Mar 15, 2013 1:59:37 PM

  20. Congratulations to the younger Mr. Portman.
    If he wants to get married-it will have to be outside of his home state. His father personally assured his good friend Phil Burris, a right-wing hate monger and religious nut case, in conversation with him yesterday that he will not lift a finger to advance a repeal of the same sex marriage ban in Ohio. I am Mr. Portman would be happy to attend his son's wedding in NY or MA or any of the small number of states of reason in America.

    Posted by: nick | Mar 15, 2013 2:10:10 PM

  21. correction---
    I am (sure) his father would be happy...

    Posted by: nick | Mar 15, 2013 2:11:05 PM

  22. Except he didn't "just" come out to his dad. Daddy told the Romney campaign about it when they were looking at Veep candidates. So when we are safely out of the election cycle, daddy suddenly feels safe enough to go public with his "change of heart."

    Posted by: PDX Guy | Mar 15, 2013 2:24:24 PM

  23. I hope Will knows that most gay men are not as hateful, intolerant, and closed-minded as the Dem hacks who typically post on this site.

    Posted by: AG | Mar 15, 2013 2:29:27 PM

  24. PDX Guy: It took Portman that long to realized he couldn't "pray away the gay."

    Posted by: Dan Mc | Mar 15, 2013 2:33:57 PM

  25. If Will ever reads any of these comments I hope he knows not everyone shares their sentiment. Congrats Will, I'm glad your coming out went well and that you had a hand in helping your father change his views on SSM. I hope he continues to reflect upon having a gay son and how else laws may negatively impact you besides just marriage. This was a good first step, giant leap really in many ways, and it shows just how close you two really are.

    Posted by: JohnAGJ | Mar 15, 2013 2:34:47 PM

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