About a third of the University of
Michigan law school's graduating class walked out on Ohio Senator Rob
Portman's commencement speech over his anti-gay record, the
In January, Portman returned to
Congress, succeeding retiring Senator George Voinovich, after a six
year absence. For 12 years ending in 2005, Portman represented Ohio
2nd congressional district in the House.
The 55-year-old Republican in 2004
voted in favor of a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.
And in 1999 he supported a bill that sought to ban gay and lesbian
couples in the District of Columbia from adopting children.
Students protested the decision to
invite Portman, a 1984 alum of the law school, to address the class
at Saturday's Senior Day.
More than 100 students, or about one
third of the class, quietly filed out of the auditorium in protest
over Portman's anti-gay votes. Many students also wore symbols of
gay pride, including rainbow tassels on their caps. The students
returned after Portman had concluded his speech.
School officials previously threatened
to remove students who interfered “unduly with a speaker's freedom