He added of Portman: “He is a modern 21st century United States senator, and that’s why it’s so important that he is able to be re-elected.”
Portman is running for re-election against former Ohio governor Ted Strickland, a Democrat.
In March 2013, Portman reversed his opposition to gay marriage after his son, Will, then a junior at Yale University, came out to his parents as gay. Portman’s reversal drew fire from conservative political corners within his own party. Nine months later, Portman voted in favor of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, federal legislation to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation in the workplace.
“I was a leader in getting ENDA done in the U.S. Senate, so without my help we wouldn’t have had the Republican support to get to the 60 votes, and that was historic,” Portman said on Thursday. “We’ll continue to work on that agenda as well. I believe you ought to respect people for who they are and I’m proud of that.”
ENDA has stalled in the U.S. House and similar bills in the Ohio General Assembly have failed to gain traction.
In June 2015 in a case originating in Ohio, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that the right for same-sex couples to marry is constitutionally guaranteed.