(CNN) - Sen. Mark Kirk of Illinois, a socially moderate Republican, announced on Tuesday his support for same-sex marriage, becoming the second Republican in the chamber to support it.
"Same-sex couples should have the right to civil marriage," he wrote in a statement. "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."
Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio became the first Republican in the U.S. Senate to endorse same-sex marriage. He announced last month that he was swayed on the issue by his son, who told his family he was gay.
Seven of the 55 Democratic senators have not endorsed same-sex marriage. Sen. Tom Carper, D-Delaware, announced his support earlier on Tuesday.
“Senator Kirk and Senator Carper have shown tremendous leadership in announcing their support for marriage equality," said Chad Griffin, the president of the pro-gay rights group Human Rights Campaign. "It is a sign of our progress that so many of their colleagues are showing the same political will. Democrat or Republican, there can simply be no excuse for standing on the wrong side of history when it comes to this basic question of justice.”
The Supreme Court heard oral arguments last week in two cases on the issue, including a challenge to the federal Defense of Marriage Act that defines marriage as between a man and a woman.
Kirk, 53, returned to the Senate in January after spending a year in recovery from a stroke.
"When I climbed the Capitol steps in January, I promised myself that I would return to the Senate with an open mind and greater respect for others," he said in Tuesday's statement.
He served in the U.S. House from 2000 to 2010, where he voted twice against constitutional amendments banning same-sex marriage.
Kirk holds the Senate seat which President Barack Obama vacated in 2008.
It's okay. We all know they'd say anything until after the election. Just ask Scott Walker of Wisconsin.
Big Deal. Rebublican'ts are finally seeing this train is staying on track. They are "approving" gay marriage as a means of self-preservation. They are just as hateful and intollerent as they have always been.
I love how people are against something until it impacts them personally–so we're now supposed to applaud this senator for backing gay marriage, when he only changed his mind because he found out his son is gay? I'm not going to give kudos to someone so obviously self-serving.
Hope you feel the same way about Obama....Hillary and Bill Clinton....The entire democratic party.....Obama just changes his views months ago. How do people not see this!!!
cool..... now Hannitee can marry Newt
So tired of all these radical Christians and their use of religion to purvey their unbridled hate. Even FOX NEWS is sick of you "bible thumpers".
The way I look at it, the acceptance of being gay is now becoming a part of the culture. It's not really a matter of right or wrong (it's wrong), it's a matter of habituation, or conditioning. The gays have been at it for some 70 years, and it's working. It's been front and center for so long that we are now becoming accepting of it. And the younger you are and the longer you have been exposed to the gays in your face since the day you were born, the more OK you are with it. It's no surprise that the younger generation is much more tolerant of the GLBT bull than the old guys.
Any elected official that can't understand the difference between civil marriage and holy matrimony should not be elected. What you believe or do in your church is subject to the rules of your church. The civil law is outside of that and for the whole country, not any specific set of beliefs.
Actually Bob what you are seeing this the death of America...and it is really sad.
"All great Democracies fall .. due to moral decay or corruption and this is our beginning .. very sad"
Just exactly which "great democracies" have failed?
Mesopotamia,India,Sparta,Athens,Rome .... have you read a book in your life ? If Mr. Kirk is doing this out of respect for people .. why doesn't respect people who oppose this ? He is trying for votes .. Just like the DEM party .. if Obama cared about this why did he wait until his second term .. Also Pam civil rights passed because of REP in the congress the DEM party was opposed .. so crack open a book .. stop getting your news from MSNBC
"I am just saying if you open marriage for one then it needs to be open for all whether we like it or not. Let use another example. Why can't I have a spouse of each gender if I so choose? It's my business. right?"
Quite honestly, who would really care? How does it affect you as long as only one of those marriagews gets the tax benefits etc? I mean, fact is that polygamy has a long historical record and has generated plenty of actual evidence that it is associated with harms and behavior and acts that society has judged abhorrent or even criminal, such as pedophilila, forced child marriages, etc. That same kind of evidence simply doesn't exist with respect to same-sex couples of just two consenting adults and the ridiculous parades of horribles that homophobes try to present in court are consistently found to be unsupported conjecture. Pretending there's not difference between gay marriage for one-on-one couples versus polygamy is, in fact, comparing apples and Volkswagons. Same with the idiotic and offensive comments making comparisons to pedophilia and beastiality or "people who want to screw their lamps."
The gays took their lead from Hitler himself, ironically. In Hitler's book "Mein Kampf" (My Struggle) he originates the idea of "das Grosse Luge" (The Big Lie): "But the most brilliant propagandist technique will yield no success unless one fundamental principle is borne in mind constantly and with unflagging attention. It must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over. Here, as so often in this world, persistence is the first and most important requirement for success."