Republican Sen. Kirk endorses same-sex marriage
April 2nd, 2013
12:16 PM ET
10 years ago

Republican Sen. Kirk endorses same-sex marriage

(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."

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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.

Filed under: Illinois • Mark Kirk • Same-sex marriage
soundoff (161 Responses)
  1. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    Sen. Kirk, good to hear that you recovered from your stroke and that you're on the right side of history on this issue. That being said, I can guarantee you 99.9% that you're going to get primaried.

    April 2, 2013 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  2. Peace

    Well come to the group of very understanding people Sir. And thanks god, everything is in full swing now and in the right direction. We will reach there!

    April 2, 2013 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  3. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Remember that old commercial?
    "Everybody in the pool!! Wheeeee!!".

    April 2, 2013 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  4. J'Cincinnati'Redd

    They all will fall in line. And thats a good thing,for to long republicans stuck their nose In people bedrooms. If two men wanna get married Go ahead who wont change my life one way or the other. And anyway the GOP, is full of closet gay's anyway.and everybody know it. so include your gay brothers and sisters (and some of your lovers) into our grand party!

    April 2, 2013 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  5. penguin

    The govt should get out of the "marriage" issue and not treat "married" or "civily joined" people any different than anyone else

    April 2, 2013 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  6. Ferret out the BS

    The constitution guarantees "Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness", it doesn't say only if your straight.

    April 2, 2013 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  7. wade

    Glad to see Sen. Kirk moving to the right side of history, but I don't understand his comment "Our time on this Earth is limited, I understand that better than most." Is he implying most people don't understand mortality and death? I mean I can understand a cancer survivor saying life something like, "I have seen with my own experience how fragile life is," because they're dealing with first-hand experience with a deadly disease, they understand that experience better than I who has never lived with cancer, but seen some of its effects. But I think I and most people understand the concept of death and mortality as well as Sen. Kirk.

    April 2, 2013 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  8. Norm

    What would Jesus do?

    April 2, 2013 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  9. TomInRochNY


    Good point. Marriage and civil unions should be handled the same way, as far as the federal government is concerned.

    April 2, 2013 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  10. Ferret out the BS

    Our constitution guarantees "Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness", it doesn't say "only if you're straight."

    April 2, 2013 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  11. wade

    and then I read he had a stroke after making my comment, now I'm the one with my foot in my mouth, please excuse my ignorance

    April 2, 2013 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  12. Bill

    These guys have known all along that there is no good argument against it. It is now just becoming politically acceptable to endorse it. Frauds, all of them.

    April 2, 2013 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  13. Chris

    And the moral degredation of our once great nation continued...

    April 2, 2013 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  14. In Mid America

    Right and wrong. There are absolutes in this world and there is a difference between right and wrong.. Gay marriage is just plain wrong! Every knee will bow and every tongue shall confess! Jesus is Lord!

    April 2, 2013 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  15. roger

    So two republicans support same sex marriage now....what a turn-around.

    It's funny, these guys can't stand the thought of two men together but probably all watch woman-on-woman action in movies with their pants around their ankles. Is it the homosexuality they oppose, or who's doing it?

    April 2, 2013 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  16. SJL


    You are reading way too much into the comment.

    April 2, 2013 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  17. ST

    I can't wait watching Rush Limbaugh spitting all over his table that they have lost and they are continuing to lose each day.

    April 2, 2013 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  18. budgie girl

    wade, i think he was just saying that surviving a stroke has heightened his awareness of his own mortality. most people think their ticket is not gonna get pulled for a while, until something major happens to them, then they realize, it's all a crap shoot pretty much.

    April 2, 2013 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  19. California Gary

    It took one senator's own son "coming out", and another senator's near death experience to bring them around to a common sense point of view on this issue. What will it take for the rest of the GOP to exhibit common sense in their positions? And does this mean the two senators will be "primaried" by Tea Party folks in their next election cycle? It's a little encouraging that these two have changed their positions to more closely align with the rest of the country, but I don't look for many more from the GOP to see the light.

    April 2, 2013 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  20. Bubba

    Now comes the fun part; where the Conservatives dump Christian foregiveness and eat one of their own to make a dying point. The point is well received as: Do As We Say, Or Else.
    Once Senator Kirk gets loses the primary to a Tea Party wacko, the election will be easily won by a Lib Democrat. Stupid Is, as Stupid Does.

    April 2, 2013 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  21. TruthandConsequence

    You do not undo human history nor ignore the Constitution just because Sen. Kirk has had a stroke or that he may seek reelection.

    April 2, 2013 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  22. wow

    So what is next in re-writing the definition of marriage? What if a man or woman wants to have both a wife and a husband? Will polygomy be the next definition of marriage? What if a man or woman, who loves their pet dearly, want to marry it? Is bestiality a definition of marriage? What gives a married gay couple the right to deny multiple marriage partners their love, or a person and pet their love?

    April 2, 2013 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  23. Mike


    Come to the light, Mark, come to the light!!!

    April 2, 2013 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  24. plain&simple

    It's a better world today when someone opens themselves up to understanding. We are not the authority on how others love. This senatorcan be counted with the brave for sspeaking out against intolerance. Good for him.

    April 2, 2013 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  25. Pete

    So the republicans are mutating ha and when will it stop..O yah when Pres.Obama wants something passed isn't it,so game over republicans you can fool some of the people some of the time but you can't fool all the people all of the time,right hypocrites!!Just let us know when you start liking the president and start passing something WITH HIM,I'd like to be there for that miracle of miracles,wouldn't everyone!!

    April 2, 2013 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
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