The nation's most vociferous opponent
of marriage equality on Monday announced that it would target Ohio
Senator Rob Portman for defeat in 2016.
Portman last year became the first
sitting GOP senator to endorse marriage equality.
In an op-ed and later in interviews
with CNN and the AP, Portman, a co-sponsor of the Defense of Marriage
Act (DOMA), said that he had dropped his opposition to marriage
equality after his son, Will Portman, told him and his wife Jane that
Brian Brown, president of the National
Organization for Marriage (NOM), said that he hopes that the defeat
last week of three Republicans who support allowing gay couples to
marry serves as a message to Republican leaders not to support such
candidates in the next election cycle.
Two of the candidates, Carl DeMaio of
California and Richard Tisei of Massachusetts, are openly gay.
DeMaio's loss was most likely due to a last-minute scandal. The
third candidate, Monica Wehby of Oregon, trailed behind incumbent
Democratic Senator Jeff Merkley, who received nearly 56 percent of
DeMaio says he's committed to more gay-inclusive GOP.)
However, it is doubtful that the
candidates lost based on where they stand on the issue of marriage,
because each of their opponents also supports marriage equality.
Nevertheless, Brown claimed credit: “I
hope that our success in defeating these three Republican candidates
sends a message to the Republican leadership in Washington that the
GOP faithful demands candidates who are committed to defending
marriage, which is a critical element of the Republican platform.”
Brown added that his group will oppose
Portman's reelection or possible presidential bid.
“Rob Portman can forget about getting
elected President of the United States,” Brown said. “If he runs
we will make sure that GOP primary voters are aware of his desire to
redefine marriage and his willingness to see federal judges set aside
the votes of 50 million Americans who enacted marriage amendments
across the country because his son is gay.”
“We intend to oppose Sen. Portman for
reelection, and if he survives a primary challenge we will urge
Republicans and Independents to refuse to vote for him in the General
Election, just as we successfully did with DeMaio, Tisei and Wehby,”