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. RA

    This guy should be removed from office at the soonest opportunity – or just join the Democratic Party.

    April 2, 2013 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  2. Randy, San Francisco

    Sen Kirk better look over his shoulder when it comes time for him to run for reelection. The Tea Partiers, social conservatives, and other purists are out to purge all moderates from the party for heresy. More moderate Republican politicians need to show the same kind of back bone and guts to accomplish re-branding of the party.

    April 2, 2013 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  3. Jason

    "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. Kirk. Gosh, that was really beautiful. Thank you!!! 🙂

    April 2, 2013 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  4. RM

    Mark Kirk has always been socially liberal. Hew was my representative from IL district 10 before going to the senate. I am just surprised that it took him so long to say this. He has always been against his party on social issues.

    April 2, 2013 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  5. Larry L


    This guy should be removed from office at the soonest opportunity – or just join the Democratic Party.
    I remember when my relatives from East Texas were telling me how disgusted they were that the law had changed to allow African Americans to eat in the "white people's" restaurants. They also believed it was God's intent to keep the races segregated – and could quote Bible verses to prove it. This is a very similar issue and the same ignorant bigots are fighting to legislate their version of morality.

    April 2, 2013 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  6. Conservative Liberal

    "This guy should be removed from office at the soonest opportunity – or just join the Democratic Party." Or return to the party of Lincoln, T. Roosevelt, and Eisenhower.

    April 2, 2013 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  7. Sam Adams

    It is known that there were church rites for two men in the ancient Christian church.
    No matter that those rites were different from rites for a couple who were man and woman, the fact that the church had a rite for two men is, in itself, significant. Search for John Boswell marriage and that will bring up references.

    In the United States, religious rites are not required for the marriage contract.

    April 2, 2013 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  8. TonyInNYC

    I'm looking forward to the day when all senators support marriage equality.

    April 2, 2013 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  9. Sniffit

    Funny watching how badly these GOP/Teatroll congresscritters want to get ON the bus when ti finally becomes apparent that it's the only alternative to ending up UNDER it.

    April 2, 2013 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  10. Michael

    It is well past time that all persons receive equal protection under the law. As long as a person's orientation does not infringe on your space, leave them alone to care for who they want, how they want. If two persons enter a social contract, marriage by any other name, they should be able to enjoy the fruits of said contact, insurance, benefits, et cetera. There will be many that would be outraged by such sentiments; that mindset is small minded, insanely bigoted and so last century.

    April 2, 2013 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  11. Mark


    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.

    Of course your perfect and have never had to correct a mistake? Right? well which is it?

    April 2, 2013 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  12. Brian

    Does he support Polygamy? If not, he is a total Hypocrite. If DOMA is opened then it should be opened for all. Once this can of worms opens there is not turning back. Get ready for your uncle to talk about marrying his animal of some sort and guess what "It's his business. right?"

    April 2, 2013 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  13. Bob

    Younger Republicans are thinking of Strom Thurmond. He had his opposition to desegregation hung around his neck for decades after the fact, and nothing he said could change that. Republicans who plan to be still running for office in 20 years know that this will be the same thing. Opposing gay marriage at this point will look really bad down the road.

    April 2, 2013 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  14. Me

    Going to happen more and more. Polling data is showing that by supporting gay marriage, they'll pick up more voters in the younger demographic than they'll lose in the older. It's all a numbers game, and the GOP needs to do something to make up for lost ground in 2014/2016.

    April 2, 2013 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  15. Wally

    Wow..another enlightened Republican mind.

    April 2, 2013 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  16. Hillcrester

    Brian–DOMA does not address who can marry.

    April 2, 2013 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  17. CLT

    The only way the repuglicans will win another national office is if they join the rest of the country on social issues. I hope they don't figure this out. So far they haven't.

    April 2, 2013 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  18. ThinkAgain

    @RA: "This guy should be removed from office at the soonest opportunity – or just join the Democratic Party."

    Spoken like a true "big tent" Repub .... Sieg Heil!

    April 2, 2013 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  19. ThinkAgain

    @Brian: Just because you're chomping at the bit to marry outside your species doesn't mean the rest of us are ...

    April 2, 2013 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  20. Erik

    Marriage Equality is not about Gay Marriage, it's about anyone who wants to get married, and allow them the right to marry. One day, we will see marry sons and fathers marry daughters, cousins will be allowed to marry, as well as an aunt and nephew. Grown men will be able to purchase the right to marry a child, and a grieving girlfriend can marry her fiance who died fighting for this country so that she can claim his death benefits. A man who loves his dog will be able to create a marriage agreement to allow him to receive marriage benefits and a woman can marry a horse.

    If you change the definition of marriage, you have to change it for anyone and everyone who wants to get married. If you think of the things above as sick and disgusting, then you don't fully believe in marriage equality and should stop attempting to change the definition of marriage.

    April 2, 2013 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  21. Marie MD

    These repugs would sell their mothers if it got them some votes. All of the sudden they are coming over to their side and they care avout gay rights?
    Give me a break!!! I hope people are not stu pic enou to believe these clowns. What's next? We love the illegals?

    April 2, 2013 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  22. Michael

    @Brian – Why is it that polygamy always enters the discussion whenever rights for LGBT is the topic? Are you honestly so enthralled by Fascist News that you automatically equate polygamy with gay rights? OK, so take a good long look at your Bible. How many polygamist involvements are mentioned therein? And you need to learn that polygamy is not beastiality. HUGE difference. But it still boils dow tto the simple fact that you do not have the right to shove your mores and morals down someone else's throat just because you disagree with them. You are hypocritical P'taQ ...

    April 2, 2013 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  23. jo jo

    Polar shift in Republican thinking going on here. Let's see how many others change their views in the upcoming months.

    April 2, 2013 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  24. The blind is beginning to see

    Good for him!

    April 2, 2013 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  25. Pandamonius


    Using beastiality to support your belief in continued discrimination just undermines the ignorance of your position.

    April 2, 2013 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
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