CNN Exclusive: One Conservative’s Dramatic Reversal on Gay Marriage

You probably recognize Sen. Rob Portman from his tireless campaigning for Mitt Romney in 2012. He was even on the short list to be Romney’s running mate.

He’s been a leading Republican voice on economic issues for four decades.

Now, the prominent Ohio conservative will be known for something else: reversing his hardline position against gay marriage.

He invited CNN to his Senate office to reveal the news.

“I’m announcing today a change of heart on an issue that a lot of people feel strongly about that has to do with gay couples’ opportunity to marry,” Portman told CNN.

It has to do with another revelation, one deeply personal. His 21-year-old son, Will, is gay.

“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,” said Portman.

Will Portman told his father and mother he is gay two years ago, when he was a freshman at Yale University.

“My son came to Jane, my wife, and I, told us that he was gay, and that it was not a choice, and that it’s just part of who he is, and that’s who he’d been that way for as long as he could remember,” said Portman.

What was the Republican senator’s reaction?

“Love. Support,” responded Portman.

And complete surprise. He told CNN that he never suspected that his son was gay.

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