Illinois Senator Mark Kirk on Tuesday
announced his support for gay marriage, making him the second GOP
senator to take such a stand.
Kirk appeared to point to a recent
stroke for changing his position on the issue.
“When I climbed the Capitol in
January, I promised myself that I would return to the Senate with an
open mind and greater respect for others,” Kirk
said in a statement. “Same-sex couples should have the right
to civil marriage. Our time on this Earth is limited, I know that
better than most. Life comes down to who you love and who loves you
back – government has no place in the middle.”
Evan Wolfson, founder and president of
Freedom to Marry, praised Kirk in a statement.
“With Senator Kirk's support, the
U.S. Senate is now ready to move to the right side of history in
support of same-sex couples' freedom to marry,” Wolfson said.
“Just as we have seen a majority of Americans embrace the freedom
to marry, so the Senate is now on the verge of a majority for
marriage. As members of Congress are talking with their family,
friends, colleagues, and constituents, they come to understand why
marriage matters to gay couples as to non-gay, and speak up in
support of fairness and freedom. Senator Kirk's heartfelt words
about values of treating others as we'd all want to be treated in our
precious time on this planet powerfully make the case for the freedom
to marry – and the need for decision-makers to end marriage
discrimination in the United States.”
Last month, Ohio Senator Rob Portman
became the first sitting GOP senator to endorse gay marriage. He said
his son's coming out had played a critical role in his decision.
Illinois currently recognizes gay and
lesbian couples with civil unions, but a law which would extend full
marriage to gay couples has cleared the Senate and awaits a vote in
Carper: Latest Democratic senator to endorse gay marriage.)