Senator Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL) (R – IL) is the newest Republican member of Congress to say he supports same-sex marriage. Kirk is among four Republicans; Rep. Richard Hanna (R-NY) (R – NY), Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), and Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) (R- OH) are the three other members to support gay marriage.
“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,” Senator Kirk said on Tuesday.
Kirk is the second Republican senator, following Sen. Rob Portman, to make this pronouncement. Back in mid March Portman, who has a gay son, said, “I have come to believe that if two people are prepared to make a lifetime commitment to love and care for each other in good times and in bad, the government shouldn’t deny them the opportunity to get married.”
Both Hanna and Ros-Lehtinen signed on to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act. Ros-Lehtinen became a co-sponsor in 2011. Hanna remarked in December of 2012, “New York State allows all its citizens the freedom to marry the person they love. Under the Tenth Amendment, the federal government has a Constitutional responsibility to respect New York’s right to set its own laws. It’s my job to see that it does.”
The New York and Florida GOP’ers also signed a friend of the court brief in the Supreme Court case battle that will decide whether same sex marriage will be legal in California. According to the Washington Post, the brief stated that gay couples in California had the constitutional right to marry.
Ros-Lehtinen’s daughter, reports the Washington Post, is a transgender man and a LGBT activist. “I voted against the constitutional amendment defining marriage [in 2006] so I’m pleased to cosponsor the repeal of DOMA and work with my colleagues on marriage equality,” Ros-Lehtinen remarked in 2011.
Although the California proposition 8 case is getting the most headlines, the four Republicans who support same-sex marriage have yet to give detailed responses on their positions regarding the ancillary issues that go along with the legalization of same sex marriage.
Breitbart News sent the following questions on non-discrimination ordinances to these Republicans and have yet to receive a response from their offices.:
Should business within the wedding/marriage industry be protected from lawsuits resulting from a refusal to service same-sex couples at wedding halls, photography services, catering, etc..?
Should Catholic adoption agencies be forced to include same sex couples when a baby is up for adoption?
Should Christian marriage therapists lose their jobs or licenses b/c they refuse to see same sex couples ?
Should children in public schools be mandated to learn about homosexuality, when the parents do not think it is appropriate to be taught?
Where does the member stand on the Employment Non-discrimination Act (ENDA)?
These issues have surfaced over the years since same sex marriage became legal in Massachusetts over a decade ago. The Cato Institute, a Washington D.C. libertarian think tank known to support same sex marriage filed an amicus brief supporting a wedding photographer who refused to shoot a same sex wedding ceremony in New Mexico.
Given the ground swell of support Chick fil A received last summer when different restaurant sites were threatened by local Democratic politicians for the company’s stance on same sex marriage, the debate may not necessarily come down to who supports gay marriage or not but where lines are drawn between someone’s rights and someone else’s freedoms.