GOP Sen. Kirk Announces Support for Gay Marriage
GOP Sen. Mark Kirk of Illinois said Tuesday he supports gay marriage, becoming the second sitting Republican senator to make such an announcement in recent weeks.
Kirk, who previously opposed a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, said in a post on his blog that "same-sex couples should have the right to civil marriage."
"Our time on this Earth is limited, I know that better than most," said Kirk, who suffered a stroke in January 2012. "Life comes down to who you love and who loves you back - government has no place in the middle."
Kirk went through months of rehabilitation before returning to work in Washington this January. He said in his blog post that when he went back to the Senate he promised himself he would return "with an open mind and greater respect for others."
Kirk is Illinois’ ranking Republican lawmaker. His announcement comes less than three weeks after Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio became the first Republican in the Senate to say he supported gay marriage and one week after the U.S. Supreme Court held two days of oral arguments on the subject.
It also comes as the Illinois Legislature is giving final consideration to a measure that would make Illinois the 10th state in the nation to allow same-sex marriage.
The Illinois Senate voted in February to lift a state ban on same-sex marriage. The legislation also was approved by a House committee, but has yet to be called for a floor vote. Speaker of the House Michael Madigan said recently he believes supporters are a dozen votes short of what they need for the bill to pass.