US Senator’s “change of heart” on gay marriage
Australian marriage equality advocates have welcomed a US conservative senator's "change of heart" on the issue of same-sex marriage.
Senator Rob Portman announced on Friday he was now in favour of marriage equality, his reversal following the coming out of his 21 year old son Will.
"I've come to the conclusion that for me, personally, I think 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, who is gay," Portman told CNN.
Portmann revealed he had spoken to former Vice President Dick Cheney about the matter. Cheney who has a lesbian daughter, told Portman simply, "Follow your heart."
"He was a good person to talk to because he also was surprised by the news, in that case, you know, his wonderful daughter, who he loves very much. And it forced him to re-think the issue too, and over time, he changed his view on it," said Portman.
"I followed his advice. You know, I followed my heart."
In the past Portman had supported the Defence of Marriage Act, which bans federal recognition of same-sex marriages, and voted against allowing same-sex couples to adopt.
Australian Marriage Equality national convenor Rodney Croome told gaynewsnetwork Portman's change of heart is part of a gathering wave of support for marriage equality among American and British conservatives who believe that allowing same-sex couples to marry is about reinforcing family values.
"It is also testimony to the importance family plays in the decision of MPs to support this reform," Croome said.
"We are seeing the beginning of a similar wave of support in Australia with the Young Liberals calling for a conscience vote and several Liberal election candidates supporting reform.
"I have no doubt that wave will grow much bigger and that a Liberal conscience vote on the issue is closer than many people assume."