After President Barack Obama came out in favor of same-sex marriage last May, a handful of Democratic senators remained who did not support marriage equality, including Sen. Claire McCaskill, of Missouri. But on Sunday their ranks were reduced by one as McCaskill, who recently won re-election against Todd “legitimate rape” Akin, came out in favor of gay marriage on Tumblr. Like Obama, she cited her children in influencing her decision: “My children have a hard time understanding why this is even controversial. I think history will agree with my children.”
McCaskill has taken a careful line on gay issues, voting to repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, supporting civil unions, and opposing Missouri’s 2004 constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriages. But she has declined to support marriage equality, even when the Democratic president did so. In her brief Tumblr post on Sunday, she described her new position and her changing views:
I have come to the conclusion that our government should not limit the right to marry based on who you love. While churches should never be required to conduct marriages outside of their religious beliefs, neither should the government tell people who they have a right to marry.
My views on this subject have changed over time, but as many of my gay and lesbian friends, colleagues and staff embrace long term committed relationships, I find myself unable to look them in the eye without honestly confronting this uncomfortable inequality. Supporting marriage equality for gay and lesbian couples is simply the right thing to do for our country, a country founded on the principals of liberty and equality.
So now McCaskill joins Ohio Republican Sen. Rob Portman as an advocate for gay marriage, but apparently without the influence of a recently out family member.