Republican Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio is reversing course on the controversial issue of gay marriage. Rather than sticking with the party line, he came forward this week to offer support for same-sex unions. Portman’s shocking decision was made following a personal, family revelation that he’s now making public.

According to the Associated Press, Portman’s evolution on the issue began in 2011 when his son, Will, told his parents that he is gay. Rather than continuing to double-down against same-sex unions, the senator now says that he sees the issue in a new light — through the lens of a parent who wants his three children to be happy and healthy in their relationships.

U.S. Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio Supports Gay Marriage After His Son Comes Out

Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio. pauses to talk on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013, after the weekly Republican policy luncheon. Credit: AP

In speaking about his “change-of-heart” with CNN, Portman was candid.

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,” he said. “That I want all of my children to have, including our son, who is gay.”

Watch a portion of his interview, below:

This is a stark change from the past, when Portman, in 1996, voted in support of the Defense of Marriage Act. The controversial measure defined marriage as being strictly between a man and woman and it banned the federal government from recognizing gay marriage.

He noted that his “faith tradition” had colored his views against gay marriage, but that his son’s revelation changed his position on the matter. Will, he says, blessed his decision to come forward and helped him process his thoughts before releasing his new-found stance.

“I think he’s happy and, you know, proud that we’ve come to this point, but he let it be my decision just as you know, it’s going to be his decision as to the role he plays going forward in this whole issue,” Portman said of his son.

Portman had previously discussed the issue with former Vice President Dick Cheney, his pastor and others.

Read the full CNN report for more.

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