Rob Portman and Son Will
According to John Heilemann and Mark Halperin, authors of Double Down: Game Change 2012, Senator Rob Portman (left) asked Presidential candidate Mitt Romney to remove his name from consideration for vice president, because his son, Will, was not ready to come out on a national scale. From the book:
‘Father and son had been talking about going public together for a while, but they wanted to do it on their own timetable.”
Double Down reports that although Will, (below) had come out to his father a year earlier, and was out to his friends at Yale, he did not want to face the country-wide reaction that would surely follow such an announcement. For the sake of his son, Senator Portman asked the Romney campaign to release a statement saying Portman asked not to be considered for VP. But according to Double Down, the campaign refused. They said such a position might make Romney unpopular. (Apparently Will Portman’s feelings were inconsequential to the Romney people.)
Senator Portman threatened the Romney camp, telling them that if chosen for the vice presidential slot, he would immediately come out in support of same-sex marriage. Romney eventually chose Wisconsin congressman Paul Ryan as his running mate.
Ultimately, the senator made a public announcement about Will’s sexual orientation in March of this year, pledging his own support for marriage equality going forward.
Senator Portman was one of several Republican senators who crossed party lines to vote in favor of ENDA, the workplace non-discrimination bill that passed the Senate this week.
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