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Sen. Mark Kirk Becomes Second GOP Senator to Support Marriage Equality

Jim Burroway

April 2nd, 2013

Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL) today has become the second sitting Republican Senator to announce his support for marriage equality, in a statement released by his office:

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.

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.

In January 2012, Kirk suffered a serious stroke at the relatively young age of 52. It took him a full year of recovery before he was able to return to the Senate this year.

When Kirk, then as Congressman, voted against repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in 2010, activist Mike Rogers outed Kirk as gay, an outing that the unmarried then-recently divorced and currently unmarried Senator has never acknowledged. That same year, Kirk announced his support for civil unions, and when the Senate took up DADT repeal at the end of the year, the newly sworn-in Sen. Kirk switched his vote to “yes.” More recently he has backed Illinois GOP chairman Pat Brady against a failed recall attempt after Brady announced his support for a marriage equality bill in the Illinois state legislature.

Kirk’s announcement comes three weeks after Ohio Sen. Rob Portman became the first sitting Republican Senator to back marriage equality. Since then, eight Democratic Senators have announced their support for same-sex marriage. With Kirk’s announcement, there are an even fifty Senators who are now on the right side of history.

Update: The penultimate paragraph was updated to more accurately reflect Kirk’s marital status and his votes on DADT repeal.

Comments

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Ben In Oakland
April 2nd, 2013 | LINK

So let’s see that bill to repeal DOMA.

Marcus
April 2nd, 2013 | LINK

Mark Kirk’s ex-wife essentially confirmed that he cheated on her with a female staffer, so if he likes sex with men, he’s almost certainly bisexual, not gay.

I doubt his shift has anything to do with his sexuality, but Mr. Rogers should remember that bisexuality exists.

StraightGrandmother
April 2nd, 2013 | LINK

Well in the Senate the Vice President votes to break the tie so that is something to consider.

Timothy Kincaid
April 2nd, 2013 | LINK

And I suspect that if it came to a vote that at least a few more Republicans and most out holdout Democrats would either vote yes or abstain.

Stuart Armstrong
April 2nd, 2013 | LINK

Filibuster, and the house.

Mark F.
April 2nd, 2013 | LINK

Ben, yeah where is that bill? I think it would almost certainly pass the Senate if it came to a vote. And there could possibly be 60 votes to break a filluster.

Markanthonydog
April 2nd, 2013 | LINK

Is anyone on record for Kirk being gay/bi? I read the blog link. It was all anon sources. I thought people went on camera when they were gunning for Craig.

Regardless, seems like a lot of these swing/blue state republicans have decided try aneasy moderate thing rather than digging the hole deeper.

chiMaxx
April 2nd, 2013 | LINK

I want to believe him–to believe the a general revelation about the brevity of life and the necessity for therefore living it honestly motivated him to do this. I don’t want the only way for Republicans to be able to embrace equality for gay people to be if a family member or they themselves are gay or bi. I want to believe that at least some of them are capable of empathy for people different from them, even when those [people are strangers.

Marcus
April 2nd, 2013 | LINK

chiMaxx, I hope the same for Democrats, Libertarians, Greens, etc.

However, if you look at the ads that have been run against Prop 8 and similar marriage bans, it seems that LGB rights group, at least, believe that the “think of your gay family members and friends” message is the most persuasive one.

jpeckjr
April 3rd, 2013 | LINK

No! No! Tell them all to stop falling all over themselves to support gay marriage! It’s just giving Chief Justice Roberts more reasons to vote against us because of our massive political power!

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