Second Republican Senator supports marriage equality

(Photo courtesy of Henri Sivonen on Flickr under CC license)

By CHRISTINA MATOUK, Guest Writer

Illinois Senator Mark Kirk has become the second Republican senator in the last few weeks to back marriage equality, according to the Huffington Post. This comes in the wake of Republican senator Rob Portman doing the same last month. Kirk justified the decision to his constituents in a recent statement posted on his blog. “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 said. Senator Portman gave his support to marriage equality last month after when of his son’s revealed to his family that he is Gay.

Marriage equality has been in the news more than ever lately thanks to the Supreme Court’s consideration of cases related to the federal Defense of Marriage act. With Kirk and Portman added to the tally, there are now 50 United States senators that back marriage equality. Most of them are Democrats, but having the support of Republican’s like Mark Kirk and Rob Portman is a big step. University of Michigan-Dearborn student Joseph Matouk is also a supporter of marriage equality and thinks change is good.

“It’s good to finally see some movement on this front. It’s 2013, the country should have been moving in this direction a long time ago. More importantly, I wish they would move passed this so our leaders can focus on different and more important national issues.” Matouk stated.

There is another reason why Mark Kirk’s decision is groundbreaking. Kirk voted twice in recent years against the repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” act. This would have made it legal to have openly gay soldiers in the military. Having Kirk on the other side of the fence is a big step for marriage equality activists.

“Life comes down to who you love and who loves you back — government has no placein the middle.” Remarked Kirk in his blog post.

The Supreme Court is expected to come down with a decision on marriage equality sometime over the summer.