NATIONAL HARBOR, Maryland — Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-KS) attacked Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) for supporting marriage equality at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on Friday.
Speaking in a sideroom, Huelskamp blasted Portman’s announcement this week that he has evolved to favor same-sex marriage two years after learning his own son was gay. “Here’s a senator who couldn’t deliver his own home state in the presidential election,” Huelskamp said dismissively. He continued, “somehow, we’re supposed to believe that if we abandon traditional marriage, that liberals are going to flock to us,” calling Portman’s position a “capitulation.”
ThinkProgress asked Huelskamp whether he would re-examine his own feelings on marriage equality if it turned out he had a gay son like Portman, but the Kansas Republican was unmoved by the prospect. “I support traditional marriage,” Huelskamp simply retorted.
KEYES: Do you have a sense on, if it were your son who came out and told you that he was gay, how you would react to that announcement?
HUELSKAMP: Well, I agree with Sen. Portman when he ran for election. And that’s the principle. The principle is, traditional marriage and family is the foundation of society. It’s been a conservative bedrock principle for many years. And one thing that we have to do as conservatives, I believe, is actually communicate the value of marriage and family for the children. […] Bill Clinton and myself, Bill Clinton in 1997 had the same position I have today. Actually Barack Obama had the same position two years ago. Isn’t it amazing how you read the tea leaves, you read the polls, and at the end of the day something suddenly changes over night?
KEYES: So, to clarify, you would still oppose same-sex marriage even if your own son came out?
HUELSKAMP: I support traditional marriage.