Days after Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) publicly reversed his stance on same-sex marriage, conservative pundits and activists have singled out the politician's gay son for his sexual identity.
On March 14, Portman told Ohio reporters that his decision came after his son, Will, a junior at Yale University, came out to him in February of 2011, The Columbus Dispatch reports.
Out of school on spring break, Will supported his father's change of heart via Twitter:
Especially proud of my dad today dispatch.com/content/storie…
— Will Portman (@wdportman) March 15, 2013
But while some people were quick to applaud the young man as "brave," others were less congratulatory.
On the same day Portman's change of heart made national headlines, the right wing blog "Government Is Not God" warned the politician that homosexuality "may eventually kill his son from AIDS, other sexually transmitted diseases, or oral cancer."
"Homosexual sex is ultimately just as destructive as cocaine use," the post continued. "Would Portman suddenly call for the legalization of cocaine if his son had announced that he was a cocaine addict? Would that be “loving” and “compassionate”?"
In a statement posted on the Family Research Council (FRC) website, FRC president Tony Perkins wrote that Will's choices, and the choices of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in general "are both harmful to them and society as a whole."
Meanwhile, Bryan Fischer, the controversial mouthpiece of the anti-gay American Family Association, compared being gay to being a bank robber, adding "prayers for the senator, his wife, his son and their entire family are called for at this time."
According to the Columbus Dispatch, the senator told reporters that he had consulted several people about his change in position, including former Vice President Dick Cheney, who has a gay daughter. Cheney reportedly told Portman to "follow [his] heart" on the issue.
While much older than Will, Mary Cheney was also criticized by members of her father's party after he spoke about her on the campaign trail.
In 2004, for example, Illinois Republican Senate candidate Alan Keyes called Mary a "selfish hedonist," prompting the Log Cabin Republicans, a gay and lesbian organization, to retort that "attacking (a) politician's children is beyond the pale."