John Boehner said his gay marriage stance isn’t changing, even if others in his party are softening in their views.
Despite some high-profile defections from GOP members, the House of Representatives Speaker said on Sunday that he cannot imagine ever supporting gay marriage.
“I believe that marriage is the union of one man and one woman. It’s what I grew up with. It’s what I believe. It’s what my church teaches me. And I can’t imagine that position would ever change,” said Boehner, who is a Roman Catholic, on ABC’s This Week.
Boehner’s gay marriage stance comes as public sentiment has turned more toward acceptance. Polls now show that more than 50 percent of Americans back same-sex marriage, and nine states and Washington, D.C., now recognize gay marriage.
This week Republican Senator Rob Portman announced that he would no longer oppose gay marriage, and at the same time he announced that his 21-year-old son Will is gay. Portman said he had a “change of heart” on the issue after the GOP’s resounding defeat in the November election.
“I’m announcing today a change of heart on an issue that a lot of people feel strongly about that has to do with gay couples’ opportunity to marry,” Portman said, adding, “I’ve come to the conclusion that for me, personally, I think this is something that we should allow people to do, to get married, and to have the joy and stability of marriage that I’ve had for over 26 years. That I want all of my children to have, including our son, who is gay.”
Portman joins a number of other Republicans who have changed course on gay marriage. Once seen as a pre-requisite for GOP leaders, gay marriage opposition has become an increasingly smaller issue.
In anticipation of a Supreme Court challenge of California’s gay marriage ban, more than 75 Republicans signed a letter supporting marriage rights. The list of those signed on to support gay marriage included some who had not spoken out on the issue before and others who reversed their stance from previous opposition.
Boehner reiterated that his gay marriage opposition will remain unchanged.