Fellow Republicans say they respect Ohio Sen. Rob Portman’s sudden reversal to embrace same-sex marriage. But they aren’t rethinking their own positions. At least not yet.
“Anybody that knows Rob Portman knows that he’s sincere, he’s honest, he cares about his family, he’s passionate. All those positive things. And I know this is very heartfelt and he believes it, gosh, more power to him,” said Rep. Jason Chaffetz, a Republican from Utah. ”He really does believe this and I respect him for that.”
Chaffetz told MSNBC’s Richard Lui several times that he believes in marriage between a man and woman only, and also believes conversations about the topic belong at the state level.
“And if one of your children were to be gay, you would not change your perspective, is what you’re saying?” Lui asked.
“I would love them with all my heart, absolutely,” Chaffetz answered. “I believe someone who is gay can still be very happy and thrive, nothing but the best for them, I don’t want to discriminate against them but I just happen to believe in traditional marriage.”
Sen. Portman penned an op-ed in the Columbus Dispatch that explained his position. His son, Will, told him that he was gay two years ago. Portman previously voted in favor of the Defense of Marriage Act, says he has since wrestled with the decision and had a change of heart.
Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich isn’t changing his anti-gay marriage position either. On CNN, Gingrich told a panel there are typically three responses expected when a family members says they are gay.
“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.”