North Carolina Senator Kay Hagan on Wednesday endorsed gay marriage.

In an interview with the News & Observer, Hagan said she was ready to “move forward with this issue.”

“I know there are strong feelings on both sides, and I have a great deal of respect for their opinions, but after much thought and prayer on my part this is where I am today,” Hagan said.

“I know all our families do not look alike. We all want the same thing for our families. We want happiness, we want health, prosperity, a bright future for our children and grandchildren. After conversations I've had with family members, with people I go to church with and with North Carolinians from all walks of life, I've come to my own personal conclusion that we should not tell people who they can love, or who they can marry. It's time to move forward with this issue.”

Hagan last year came out against a North Carolina constitutional amendment defining marriage as a heterosexual union, saying it was bad for business, but stopped short of supporting marriage rights for gay and lesbian couples.

Hagan joins a growing list of U.S. senators who have recently reversed course on the issue, including Senator Rob Portman, a Republican from Ohio, and Democratic Senators Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Mark Warner of Virginia, Mark Begich of Alaska, Jon Tester of Montana and Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia.