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Two more Democratic Senators, one House member, and another GOP Senator announce marriage equality support

Marriage equality

By Scottie Thomaston

Yesterday, EqualityOnTrial reported on a Republican House member who had announced his opposition to Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, the section which includes the federal definition of marriage. He has not said he supports marriage equality generally, and he seemed to suggest he is still in favor of Section 2 of the Act, the section that prevents a state from having to recognize out of state same-sex marriages unless it chooses to. Still, he said the Supreme Court should strike down Section 3 as unconstitutional, something it could be prepared to do by late June.

This morning, Illinois Senator Mark Kirk, a Republican, became the second GOP Senator to support marriage equality. Until this point, the first and only Republican in the Senate supporting marriage equality was Rob Portman of Ohio. Kirk’s statement, posted to his blog, reads in part:

“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,” Kirk wrote on his blog.

“Same-sex couples should have the right to civil marriage. 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.”

The Illinois state senate passed a marriage equality bill. That bill is awaiting action by the House. Governor Quinn has said he will sign the bill once it reaches his desk.

And over the past two days, two more Democratic Senators have announced their support of marriage equality. Those Senators are Bob Casey from Pennsylvania and Tom Carper from Delaware. With their announcements, only seven Democratic Senators now either oppose marriage equality or have not clearly announced support of it. All Republican Senators except for Mark Kirk and Rob Portman remain in opposition.

Senator Casey said in an interview (linked above):

“I ultimately decided that to make a decision about DOMA was making a decision about marriage equality itself,” Casey said. Casey gave interviews to The Morning Call and the Philadelphia Gay News before making his support public.

Casey said he will sign on as a co-sponsor to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act when the Senate reintroduces such legislation.

“It wasn’t until recently that I thought some point this year it will be reintroduced, so that was a question I was asking myself: Can you separate the vote on that [from] the ultimate question on marriage equality?” Casey said. “There’s no way to do that.”

And Senator Carper’s statement (linked above) was released via Facebook:

As our society has changed and evolved, so too has the public’s opinion on gay marriage – and so has mine. I pray every day for God to grant me the wisdom to do what is right. Through my prayers and conversations with my family and countless friends and Delawareans, I’ve been reminded of the power of one of my core values: the Golden Rule. It calls on us to treat others as we want to be treated. That means, to me, that all Americans ultimately should be free to marry the people they love and intend to share their lives with, regardless of their sexual orientation, and that’s why today, after a great deal of soul searching, I’m endorsing marriage equality.

With the addition of support from Kirk, Carper, and Casey, 50 United States Senators are now in support.

The remaining Democratic Senators yet to endorse marriage equality are: Mark Pryor (AR), Joe Donnelly (IN), Bill Nelson (FL), Joe Manchin (WV), Mary Landrieu (LA), Heidi Heitkamp (ND), and Tim Johnson (SD).

Also yesterday, a Democratic House member from Delaware, John Carney, announced support for marriage equality. He said, in part:

“For over a generation, we as a society have honored the truth that separate is not equal. On the surface, this may just sound like a debate about words. But marriage is also symbolic — it gives honor to a lifelong partnership in a way that civil unions do not. This June, I will be married 20 years. I know that marriage is about commitment, love, and mutual respect.

“All Delawareans should have the privilege of participating in this institution.”

While Pennsylvania, where Senator Casey made his endorsement, is not expected to push for a marriage equality law soon, Delaware’s governor and attorney general have pushed for marriage equality in the state. Governor Markell has suggested it could be introduced and passed this year. Carney is Delaware’s only House member in support of marriage equality.


  • 1. Equality On Trial »&hellip  |  April 5, 2013 at 10:24 am

    […] week, another Republican senator announced support for marriage equality, joining two more Democrats. The announcement of their support meant that there […]

  • 2. Equality On Trial »&hellip  |  April 17, 2013 at 10:03 am

    […] bill and will sign it once it reaches his desk. Delaware’s two US Senators, Chris Coons and Tom Carper support marriage equality, and Delaware’s sole House member also announced his support weeks […]

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