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Sen. Rob Portman, a longtime opponent of gay marriage, has changed his views on the issue after his son came out to him and his wife two years ago. “My son came to Jane, my wife, and I, told us he was gay, and that it was not a choice, and that’s just part of who he is, and he’d been that way ever since he could remember,” Mr. Portman, whose focus in Congress has mainly been economic issues, told CNN. “And that launched an interesting process for me, which was rethinking my position, talking to my pastor and religious leaders and going through a process of, at the end, changing my position on the issue. I now believe that people ought to have the right to get married.”

“It hasn’t, of course, changed our view at all of him,” Mr. Portman said, adding that his reaction was “love, support — 110 percent.” The Ohio Republican, who was on the short list to be 2012 GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney, said he did tell Mr. Romney during the vetting process that his son Will, 21, was gay. As a candidate, Mr. Romney supported a federal amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman, but Mr. Portman said he was told it was not a factor in Mr. Romney’s decision on his running mate, which was ultimately Rep. Paul Ryan, Wisconsin Republican.

As for the timing of Mr. Portman’s announcement, since his son told him two years ago, he said he only recently became comfortable with his own decision to change his views, and that he realized he would likely be asked about the issue with cases pending before the U.S. Supreme Court and wanted to let people know where he stood.