The National Organization for Marriage plans to target Republican U.S. senator Rob Portman of Ohio for defeat when he comes up for reelection in 2016 and if he makes a presidential run, saying it will let voters know he supports "redefining marriage" because of his gay son.
"Rob Portman can forget about getting elected President of the United States," said NOM president Brian Brown in a blog post this week. "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. Rob Portman's son has a right to live as he chooses, but that does not give his father the right to redefine marriage. The same voters who just elected pro-marriage candidates like Joni Ernst, Tim Scott, Tom Cotton, Pat Roberts and Thom Tillis are not going to support someone like Rob Portman."
In 2013, Portman became the first Senate Republican to support marriage equality, and he said his "change of heart" came because his son is gay.
In the same blog post, NOM lauds the victories of the conservative Senate candidates mentioned above and boasts that all the gay and pro-gay candidates it targeted in last week's election were defeated. They are gay U.S. House candidates Richard Tisei of Massachusetts and Carl DeMaio of California, and pro-equality Senate candidate Monica Wehby in Oregon. All were Republicans, defeated by Democrats.
The Washington Blade points out, however, that the Democrats who won those races "were equally in support of same-sex marriage and LGBT rights -- if not stronger -- than their Republican opponents." Tisei lost to Jeff Moulton, DeMaio to Scott Peters, and Wehby to Jeff Merkley.
NOM also doesn't mention the victory last week by Susan Collins of Maine, the first Republican U.S. senator to run for reelection after coming out in support of marriage equality. (She was not targeted by NOM.) Pro-marriage equality House Republicans Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida, Richard Hanna of New York, and Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania won reelection as well.