Senator Portman in his own words at the Columbus Dispatch:
[M]y position on marriage for same-sex couples was rooted in my faith tradition that marriage is a sacred bond between a man and a woman. Knowing that my son is gay prompted me to consider the issue from another perspective: that of a dad who wants all three of his kids to lead happy, meaningful lives with the people they love, a blessing Jane and I have shared for 26 years.
I wrestled with how to reconcile my Christian faith with my desire for Will to have the same opportunities to pursue happiness and fulfillment as his brother and sister. Ultimately, it came down to the Bible’s overarching themes of love and compassion and my belief that we are all children of God.
Well-intentioned people can disagree on the question of marriage for gay couples, and maintaining religious freedom is as important as pursuing civil marriage rights. For example, I believe that no law should force religious institutions to perform weddings or recognize marriages they don’t approve of.
British Prime Minister David Cameron has said he supports allowing gay couples to marry because he is a conservative, not in spite of it. I feel the same way. We conservatives believe in personal liberty and minimal government interference in people’s lives. We also consider the family unit to be the fundamental building block of society. We should encourage people to make long-term commitments to each other and build families, so as to foster strong, stable communities and promote personal responsibility.
Few quick notes:
1) Welcome, Senator Portman. Glad to have you in the ranks of Republicans who support gay marriage.
2) Mull the language of Portman's announcement. I expect Andrew Sullivan will hear himself a little in there.
3) Can't help but notice American conservatives following the example of Britain's Tories!
4) The real battle is now to protect religious institutions. Society will change on its own. Conservatives should make sure government, in its fervor to get ahead of the people, doesn't attempt to steamroll religious institutions.