Bob Casey Backs Marriage Equality
Well, that took long enough.
After being one of just nine U.S. Democratic Senators who still opposed marriage equality, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-Pa.) came out today in favor of the LGBT community enjoying equal rights on that front, in an interview with the Morning Call and a public statement released to the press.
“After much deliberation and after reviewing the legal, public policy and civil-rights questions presented, I support marriage equality for same-sex couples and believe that DOMA should be repealed,” Casey’s announcement stated. As per the Philadelphia Gay News:
Part of that process included considering feedback from LGBT Pennsylvanians and their families, Casey said.
“These stories had a substantial impact on my position on this issue,” the senator said. “If two people of the same sex fall in love and want to marry, why would our government stand in their way? At a time when many Americans lament a lack of commitment in our society between married men and women, why would we want less commitment and fewer strong marriages? If two people of the same sex want to raise children, why would our government prevent them from doing so, especially when so many children have only one parent or none at all?”
Casey had been pressured by gay rights groups and advocates throughout the state, which began receiving more publicity as the Supreme Court arguments over Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act took place last week. State Rep. Brian Sims (D-Philadelphia), an openly gay state legislator, released an open letter he penned to Casey: “We have believed since you were sworn in that when the time was right, when it really mattered, you would be there for equality. The time is right and we need you to be here,” wrote Sims. “But your voice is silent. And I am angry.”
Last week, U.S. Sens. Mark Warner (D-VA), Kay Hagan (D-NC) and others came out for gay marriage. Marriage equality is part of the national Democratic platform.
Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Mark Pryor of Arkansas, Bill Nelson of Florida and Tim Johnson of South Dakota are the only Democrats still opposed. Ohio Senator Rob Portman is the lone Republican who has publicly come out in support of gay marriage, saying he changed his position because his son is gay.
An ABC News poll released last week shows a majority — 58 percent — of Americans are in favor of same-sex marriage. In Pennsylvania, 45 percent believe it should be legal, according to a recent Public Policy Polling survey. [Update, April 2: Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE) came out for gay marriage today. Update 2: So did Mark Kirk (R-IL). Kirk is the 50th U.S. Senator to do so and the second Republican.]
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