SHARONVILLE, Ohio - For Phil Burress, president of Citizens for Community Values, the decision by Sen. Rob Portman to reverse his position opposing gay marriage – no mater how personal – puts the Ohio senator out of step with his organization.
"We have what we call non-negotiable issues. Abortion and marriage are two of those and the fact that he is wrong now on the marriage issue, he will not receive our endorsement," said Burress.
Burress said he received a call at the CCV offices in Sharonville on Thursday from Portman.
"It started off a very strange conversation because he was very distraught. Maybe that's a little strong word, but he wasn't himself," said Burress of the conversation, "He said, 'I've got some bad news I need to tell you.'"
Burress explained that Portman told him he would be changing his position on same-sex marriage – an issue viewed as core issue for the CCV which defines its mission as promoting “Judeo-Christian moral values, and to reduce destructive behaviors contrary to those values, through education, active community partnership, and individual empowerment at the local, state and national levels.”
"He proceeded to tell me about his son Will (who is gay) and that he was going to change his position because of Will," said Burress.
Burress described Portman as sending two different messages.
"He also told me that he was not going to campaign for same-sex marriage. He's not going to help them get on the ballot in Ohio to try to repeal our marriage amendment from 2004," said Burress.
That amendment defines marriage as between one man and one woman.
"He's opposed to the courts reversing Prop 8 in California that defines marriage between one man and one woman," said Burress.
9 On Your Side contacted Portman's office for comment but they would not issue an on-the-record statement. A spokeswoman for Portman said the senator is on an annual rafting trip to Tennessee with his sons.
To read the original report of Portman's decision to change his stance, and reaction to the decision, go to http://www.wcpo.com/dpp/news/political/ohio-sen-rob-portman-now-supports-gay-marriage .
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