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TODAY   |  March 15, 2013

GOP senator reverses gay marriage stance

Prominent Ohio conservative Senator Rob Portman, once considered for Mitt Romney’s running mate, is speaking out about gay marriage in support of his son, who is gay, just as Romney gets set to give his first public speech since the election today. NBC’s Peter Alexander reports.

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>>> tonoth breing story overgh ohi sator rob rtn, a k replican d onof mt roey's cse nfidanversingis snce on se-se maiagethis a governor romy addresses a major gheringf conservate leader nbc's peter alexanderover the romne campaign, good morning.

>> gd morning to u. senator roportman is growi a list of republicans supporting ga marriage. his change of position comes a week before the supreme cou i ing t hear oral arguments over a 1996 federal w, that law asserts that gay marrie is not legal and it's a measure that poman himlf co-sponsored at the time.

>> i see theroey/ryan team goinalthe way to the white house !

>> reporter: forhe pminent io coervati, senator rob portman who was a fture at one time conded a favorite to become mitt romney 's runng te it's a dramati reversal on gay marria.

>> i've com to t conclusio fore personay i think this is something that wehould low people to do, t get maied and to have the joy and the stability of marriage that i've hador or6 ars. i want all teef my kids to have it, including our son, who is gay.

>> reporter: portman has voted against same-sex marriaany times in the past. today mitromney marchesack intohe political spotligh s remar at an annua conference for conservatives maing romney's first public spch sce hexited the stage last fall. since then we've seen rare glpsesf the forr republican nomie.

>> mov on i don't spend my lifeooki back.

reporter: theseays hs enjoying more timeithis andkids and just thi week celebrated his 66th birthday. his oldt son tagg says he doesn't want to beback, he's done. he nts t show conservatives across the spectr he' n in hibernation, thathis defeat last november has n devtated him.

>> reporter: the rublica party faces an ideity crisis with no clear lde and no cleapath to widening its appeal. among those vying for conservave support thursday, florida senator mar rubho insisted aricans should be able to respectfully disagree abou gay marage

>> just because i believe states shld have the righto define marriage in a traditional way doesot make me a big on t.

>> zbmpb romney is not only the high ofile eaker, jning him are jeb bush , donald trump , matt ryan one of the most popul figur the party, new jery chris chstie, who praised presidentoba's sponseo the