Illinois Senator Mark Kirk is fine with states deciding gay marriage.

The 52-year-old Kirk was among the eight Republicans who voted in favor of a bill that began the process of repealing “Don't Ask, Don't Tell” on September 20. For 18 years the policy banned gay and bisexual troops from serving openly.

Gay rights activists spurned Kirk during his 2010 campaign in favor of Democrat Alexi Gianoulias, who favors giving gay and lesbian couples the right to marry.

In addressing a group of students at Southeast High School in Springfield last week, Kirk was asked if he supports gay marriage.

“The question I asked about gay marriage, I kind of wish he would have answered it more,” 17-year-old Katelynn Parish told The State Journal-Register. “I thought maybe he was pro-gay marriage, but I wanted him to give me a straight answer. He still did really good explaining it, though.”

Kirk told the students that he believes individual states should decide marriage issues, which could be interpreted to mean that he favors repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). DOMA defines marriage as a heterosexual union for federal agencies, restricting state's rights to decide on marriage.

(Related: Gay marriage foes attack GOPer Ileana Ros-Lehtinen for supporting DOMA repeal.)