Portman's son explains coming out

Sen. Rob Portman’s (R-Ohio) son says he “was pretty relieved” when his father wasn’t selected as GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s running mate.

In an open letter about coming out to his family and friends published Monday in the Yale Daily NewsWill Portman writes that the relief came from avoiding the glare of the media during the 2012 presidential race.

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He said Sen. Portman told the Romney campaign he was gay, and that Portman would be open about it on the campaign trail.

“When he ultimately wasn’t chosen for the ticket, I was pretty relieved to have avoided the spotlight of a presidential campaign,” Portman wrote.

“Some people have criticized my dad for waiting for two years after I came out to him before he endorsed marriage for gay couples. Part of the reason for that is that it took time for him to think through the issue more deeply after the impetus of my coming out. But another factor was my reluctance to make my personal life public.”

Portman’s note details the college junior’s struggle to reveal his sexuality to his father and his dad’s decision, announced earlier this month, to reverse his stance and support same-sex marriage.

While Portman’s son — one of the 57-year-old lawmaker’s three kids — says it’s been “strange” to have his personal life splashed on the front pages of newspapers, he also calls it “a privilege,” saying, “Now, my friends at Yale and the folks in my dad’s political orbit in Ohio are all on the same page.”

Will Portman writes he’s “proud” of his dad “not necessarily because of where he is now on marriage equality (although I’m pretty psyched about that), but because he’s been thoughtful and open-minded in how he’s approached the issue, and because he’s shown that he’s willing to take a political risk in order to take a principled stand.”

Portman reveals he came out to his parents in a letter he penned at the school library his freshman year.

The college student explains that he and his father decided “my dad would talk about having a gay son if he were to change his position on gay marriage equality. It would be the only honest way to explain his change of heart.”

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