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Senator Rob Portman Talks ENDA, Immigration, and Marriage Equality: VIDEO

Buzzfeed sat down with Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) at one of its Buzzfeed Brews events during which beer is guzzled. About half of the discussion was devoted to LGBT issues including immigration, ENDA, and his shift on marriage equality.

PortmanChris Geidner encapsulates the discussion:

Noting that many areas of federal law address marriage-based benefits, Portman counseled against the creation of a specific category for same-sex couples in immigration law — although he stopped short of saying he would oppose such a measure....

...Portman also expressed general support for LGBT employment protections, saying, "I totally support the concept" of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would bar most employers from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

"There oughta be a law in place," he said, expressing two potential concerns with ENDA: "litigation that could result" and "religious freedom."

...Asked about criticism he received when announcing his changed view on marriage equality by those who said it shouldn't have taken learning about his son for him to change on the issue, he initially replied, "Whatever."

Portman then said he hadn't thought about the issue in depth prior to learning about his son, although he said that perhaps he should have done so.

Pick up the conversation as it turns to LGBT issues, AFTER THE JUMP...

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  1. the uphill battle portman faces is trying to get his fellow republicans to do what he was unable to do - care about someone else's family.

    or in the case of the Salmon Family, care about your own family more than you care about your religion and party's chosen anti-gay prejudices.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | May 7, 2013 11:44:10 AM

  2. Remember he also voted AGAINST gun background checks....

    He wants his cake and to be able to eat it.

    Posted by: anthony | May 7, 2013 11:53:52 AM

  3. Not much of an ally, but sure is better than 95% of fellow Republicans.

    Posted by: Francis #1 | May 7, 2013 11:55:35 AM

  4. In addition to Portman,Jon Tester of Montana also needs to be watched on this.
    He has a gay son as well and his record on gay rights is mixed.
    Heck he didn't even come out for marriage equality even after he was elected and Portman did so.

    Posted by: Kevin | May 7, 2013 12:14:23 PM

  5. I'm sure Francis #1 thinks that Pryor is a GLBT ally just because he has a "D" next to his name. Portman is in favor of UAFA, Marriage Equality, and ENDA.

    Why does our community keep shooting themselves in the foot when we have allys jumping onto our side?!

    Posted by: chicagoan | May 7, 2013 12:27:27 PM

  6. There is nothing wrong with Portman "learning about his son for him to change on the issue". This is how most parents "change on the issue". We can't change hearts and minds without coming out. Portman's son did and Portman responded. Exactly how the idea is supposed to work.

    Posted by: will | May 7, 2013 12:57:49 PM

  7. Pryor isn't an ally and neither is Portman. An ally is someone who fights for equality and stands up against inequality and Rob Portman isn't doing that, and he apparently isn't for an inclusive immigration bill that includes same-sex couples because he thinks we have enough protections already with state laws (false). So no, Portman isn't an ally. That word actually means something.

    Posted by: Francis #1 | May 7, 2013 1:04:43 PM

  8. Francis #1...Portman said he would be in favor of repealing DOMA, which means that UAFA wouldn't be needed...

    Posted by: chicagoan | May 7, 2013 2:02:52 PM

  9. not to mention that if it takes their own gay kid Coming Out to change a republican's mind (and, as we all saw in the last few months, a great many claim it WOULDN"T make them change their minds) then that's a pretty goddamn slow process.

    yes, Coming Out is the biggie that gets people to think about things. and that's why the Portmans of the world need to get off their butts and become PROACTIVE about this - to ALL of their political affiliates and constituents.

    because a great many of them have gay kids and gay family members.


    Posted by: Little Kiwi | May 7, 2013 2:36:41 PM

  10. So, he still opposes ENDA.

    What a tool.

    Posted by: BobN | May 7, 2013 3:37:14 PM

  11. of course he opposes ENDA. he only cares about "gay marriage" because of his son. his son, however, won't be affected by workplace discrimination, because rich white republican boys who suck Bully GOP teats can still get jobs. respect and love, not so much. but he'll get a job.

    so Portman don't care.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | May 7, 2013 3:45:51 PM

  12. @BobN and @Little Kiwi:

    You guys are idiots.

    Reporter: "Do you support that legislation {ENDA}?"
    PORTMAN: "I totally support the concept, and this is about discrimination in the work place. And there should be no discrimination. There ought to be a law in place in my view."

    I mean, it's pretty cut and dry. How either of you make it through life is beyond me.

    Bills (incl ENDA) can get marked-up with all kinds of crazy amendments before they make it to the floor (and even when they do make it to the floor, although it's much harder to amend then). Because of this, Senators rarely say whether they support an exact bill until then. (It's why ENDA only has a few co-sponsors right now)

    I think a few others have already said this, but we have elected officials coming to our side and instead of supporting them you look for their party label and then celebrate or rip them apart. Jeesh.

    @Little Kiwi: You sound like a very angry broken record, re: rich white GOP boys. I'm sure Chelsea Clinton is having a tragic time hunting for a job. *rolls eyes*

    Posted by: boston_2013 | May 7, 2013 4:25:08 PM

  13. so he doesn't support discrimination unless its based on religion

    typical republican double talk

    Posted by: t | May 7, 2013 8:34:06 PM

  14. @boston_2013
    How many Republicans do you know of that have introduced legislation for LBGT equality? How many has Portman introduced?

    Portman still doesn't get it.
    He views his elected legislative position on equality to be subject to his personal beliefs or from religious objections.

    The litmus test for being an ally in a civil rights struggle isn't being benignly supportive on a few issues subject to poling your constituents. It's seeing and stating clearly that we are all recognized as equal under the law. Be it marriage, ENDA, DOMA, immigration, or public accommodation.

    Posted by: JONES | May 7, 2013 10:18:25 PM

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