WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) issued the following statement in response to Sen. Rob Portman’s (R-OH) support of gay marriage:

"I'm glad Sen. Portman has joined the growing majority of Americans who support full civil rights for our gay and lesbian family, friends, and neighbors. Practicing family values is about loving all of God's children. I look forward to working with him to ensure that all Americans have the ability to marry regardless of whom they love or where they live."

Brown is a long-time supporter of marriage equality. He is one of just eight sitting senators who voted against the controversial Defense of Marriage Act in 1996 – during his service as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Last month, Brown met with members of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) from across Ohio to discuss the issues affecting the lives of millions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Americans – including marriage equality, school safety, and an end to workplace discrimination.  As the Supreme Court prepares to hear arguments on the legality of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), Brown joined an amicus brief asking the Court to overturn the law. DOMA, which prohibits federal recognition of same-sex marriages, also denies LGBT couples many of the federal benefits and protections that other married couples enjoy.

The brief, submitted by more than 200 members of Congress, comes in addition to bipartisan briefs filed by the Obama administration, more than 300 companies, and 75 current and former legislators and government officials. It emphasizes that the federal government has no legitimate interest in denying married same-sex couples the rights and benefits afforded to other married couples.

While same-sex marriage is now legal in nine states and the District of Columbia, 31 states have constitutional amendments banning marriage equality. The federal government also fails to recognize same-sex marriages, which denies federal benefits to these married couples. Overturning DOMA will ensure that married couples, no matter where they live or who they love, are treated equally under the law.

Brown supports equality of opportunity for all Americans and has previously cosponsored the Employment Nondiscrimination Act (ENDA), the Student Nondiscrimination Act (SNDA), and the Safe Schools Improvement Act to end discrimination and bullying.