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.