(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.
I'd rather be under the bus believing what God says is right and wrong than be on the bus burning on the road to hell.
Regarding suggesting he be removed from office or changed to a Democrat:
Fiscal conservatism is far better for the U.S. than social conservatism. Republicans can and should be a party that promotes fiscal government spending and embraces freedom. That would be cool.
@Michael – Anytime man tried to change the definition of marriage, God eventually punished him. Polygamy wasn't Gods way, it was man's way.
Furthermore, the reason it is brought up is because people want equal rights to marriage. You can't just stop at gays. You have to allow the definition to be open ended to be inclusive of all people that want to get married. The second you close it off, you no longer see marriage equality, but just another gay agenda.
Its good to see some republicans beginning to see the light. I prefer fiscal conservatism and social liberalism to strict conservatism which as a practical idea has proven to be a failure.
GOP failing to live up to their plat form of hate. something is wrong with them
"Here's why the heathen B. Hussein Obama and his army of commies are taking us over, from the Word of God:
Psalm 106: 37 Yea, they sacrificed their sons and their daughters unto devils,
Psalm 106: 41 And he gave them into the hand of the heathen; and they that hey-ted them ruled over them.
Word of God is immoveable and America needs to use mass impeachments all of these infanticide-aphilic heathen."
I'd rather "mass impeach" all the ignorant fake christians that try to use their religion to justify discrimination.
The Supreme Court heard oral arguments... Oral..That's cool.
I never mentioned religion. This is funny that "Thinkagain" also attacks me personally. My partner and I have been together for 25 years and we have a 12 year old son who understands this better than you.
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?
If at a party your wife was kissed, on the cheek hopefully, by a gay man, and you saw it, would you be so willing to kiss her?
jo jo–There will be a flood of them, once they stop denying the massive cultural and electoral shift is taking place.
Thank God u knw u have a short time here on earth
Beware the slippery slope. Let men get the right to vote for their representatives in office then women are going to want to vote, then minorities, then poor people, then dogs and cats. Can we let this go on? When will this slide into liberal hell end?
Religion is for those who are afraid to go to hell. Spirituality is for those who have already been there.
This is not about what god says is right or wrong. It's about whether you have any right to use that flimsy excuse to force us to follow your god's teachings.
I believe the hymn goes, "This world's not my home. I'm just a'passing through." If this isn't your home, why are you making yourself so comfy here?
We've successfully deprogrammed another GOP legislator.
Welcome to the 21st Century, Senator Kirk.
Wow..another enlightened Republican mind... Really enlightened. Do you believe in Evolution of the human race .. if so explain to me how two gay people can have children and make our species live on .. That is why Marriage is between 1 man and 1 woman .. Civil Unions are fine for gay people just not marriage. If this is about tax advantages .. simple lets make it so everyone files as a single person .. Let the people vote
"I'd rather be under the bus believing what God says is right and wrong than be on the bus burning on the road to hell."
Since I can't directly attribute anything ANY religion says to god (since the words are coming from HUMANS), then claiming you know the word of god is beyond arrogant, it is foolish in the extreme.
Am I to blame if I don't believe in god? If I LIE and say I do believe, will god accept that, or punish me for lying?
Serious question for any Christian that thinks they can handle it.
Say... what if the road to perdition is the one where you pick through the Old Testament ignoring all the other passages about pork and menstruation and slaves and everything else to spread your personal opinion and pretend it's Christian? What if ignoring the New Covenant when it's convenient isn't some shiny high road? What if you're really kind of a jerk who hates the creation in sheep's clothing?
Bless the good Senator. His compassion for all is to be respected.
It's like how midgets and left-handeds used to be treated. By, one has to say, conservative jerks. I'm a moderate, and the left has plenty of people who just won't think, too, don't get me wrong...
Let the backpedaling begin! Soon the GOP will be trying to convince everyone that they were always 100% in favor of gay marriage and anyone who says otherwise is unpatriotic.
About time that some people figure out that we are all equal in the eyes of God. God created us therefore I prefer to believe that my God loves every human being equally as well. I do not believe that any human being takes the Bible literally, cause that is not even possible. The best shot for all of us to get to Heaven is to treat your fellow man/woman with respect and dignity.
Dump this bum. He is acting just like an Illinois Democratic Machine democrat; anything to try and get a vote.
Marriage has already been defined as two people – allowing gay marriage will not change that statute
We should have the same rights as everyone. I pay taxes,I vote and I go to church every sunday. Wake up people! ! ! !