Pennsylvania Representative Charlie Dent, a Republican, on Wednesday endorsed marriage equality.

Last week, Pennsylvania became the 19th state, in addition to the District of Columbia, to allow gay couples to marry when a federal judge struck down the state's ban as invalid and Governor Tom Corbett decided against pursuing an appeal in the case. Dent issued a statement congratulating gay couples but stopped short of giving his endorsement.

That changed on Wednesday, when Dent, who as a state representative in 1996 voted for Pennsylvania's marriage ban, officially gave his endorsement.

“Life is too short to have the force of government stand in the way of two adults whose pursuit of happiness includes marriage,” Dent said in a statement.

“As a Republican, I value equality, personal freedom and a more limited role for government in our lives. I believe this philosophy should apply to the issue of marriage as well,” he added.

Marc Solomon, national campaign director for Freedom to Marry, applauded the move.

“We congratulate Rep. Dent for doing the right thing by his constituents and his country in supporting the freedom to marry. He joins the growing Republican wave across the country that believes in individual liberty and stronger families. The freedom to marry is the future of the Republican Party – and the entire country. America is ready now for the Supreme Court to bring national resolution on marriage.”

Dent is only the third House Republican to endorse marriage equality. The other two are Richard Hanna of New York and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida.