Mark Kirk of Illinois Second GOP Senator to Back Gay Marriage, Week After Claire McCaskill

senator mark kirk.jpg
Senator Mark Kirk.
Missouri Democratic Governor Jay Nixon may not want to talk about gay marriage right now -- but Mark Kirk, Republican Senator from Illinois, is not shying away from the topic. Just a little over a week after Senator Claire McCaskill, a Democrat, expressed her support for marriage equality for the first time, Kirk has announced today that he too supports same-sex marriages.

His statement makes him the second GOP Republican senator in the country to back gay marriage, one week after Rob Portman, R-Ohio, declared his support -- sparking a series of endorsements from members of both parties as the Supreme Court last week took up historic cases on the matter.

"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 today.

The short statement continues:

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.

Kirk's post references his absence from Congress before January while he was recovering from a stroke.

Portman, in his lengthy announcement in a newspaper op-ed, cited his gay son as part of his decision to change his stance on same-sex marriage. McCaskill, too, cited her children, noting that they have a "hard time understanding why this is even controversial."

Today's news comes as Illinois is in the process of giving final consideration to a measure that could make the state the tenth in the nation to allow same-sex marriages.

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Governor Jay Nixon dodging a gay marriage question last week.

Next door, Missouri still has a gay marriage ban on the books, and Nixon, stating his opposition in the past, has said that he doesn't expect much legislative activity in this area.

For now, he's just avoiding the topic.

Send feedback and tips to the author. Follow Sam Levin on Twitter at @SamTLevin.

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David J. McCutcheon
David J. McCutcheon

Also, screw Jay Nixon. What a waste. Overturning the puppy mill fiasco and now this? Happy I didn't vote for this asshole.

David J. McCutcheon
David J. McCutcheon

MO inevitably will. Look at interracial marriage, segregation, etc... It's another step toward our social evolution as a species. Biggest pet peeve, by the way, is those screaming about moving out of state. How can the state get better if the ones preaching for Missouri to evolve move away and leave a bigger voice for the bigots? For shame. It's like giving up on your sports team when they're temporarily trailing in the game but on a grander scale.

Steven Kennedy
Steven Kennedy

Unfortunately not. People wonder why St. Louis & Missouri are passed over repeatedly for Corporate Headquarters. It's because we're unable to recruit talent to the area. Missouri is thought of as a backwards hill-billy state. Educated people don't want to relocate to this area. Enjoy your biggoted 1950s views while you're standing in the unemployment line.

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