equal rites

Republican Senator Mark Kirk Endorses Marriage Equality With Brief, Beautiful Statement

US Vice President Joe Biden (L) greets Illinois Senator Mark Kirk upon his return to the Senate on January 3, 2013 after suffering a stroke last January. Krik was welcomed by his colleagues on the step of the Senate a year after a stroke affected the right side of his brain. Kirk spent a year relearning how to walk in intensive physical therapy. The 113th Congress convenes Thursday fresh from the year-end fiscal cliff fiasco, but lawmakers will ring in 2013 casting a wary eye towards the even tougher budget battles that lie ahead. AFP PHOTO/JEWEL SAMAD (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
Kirk returning to the Senate in January. Photo: Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images

Republicans are making a lot of weak, desperate, and convoluted arguments against gay marriage these days. Republican senator Mark Kirk of Illinois just did the exact opposite in a succinct yet profound statement announcing his support for gay marriage. Kirk joins Ohio’s Rob Portman as the only Republican senators to support marriage equality.


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

Kirk’s reference to “know[ing] better than most” about our collective mortality is a nod to the stroke he suffered last January. Kirk returned to the Senate three months ago, after less than a year of rehab,  having undergone not only a physical but also a spiritual conversion. “I would say that I definitely became much more religious,” Kirk has said. He claims to have seen three angels after his stroke, although he acknowledged that they may have been a dream or “a side effect of medication.”

Kirk announced his support for gay marriage on the same day as Tom Carper, a Democratic senator from Delaware. After a rash of gay-marriage reversals in recent weeks, there are now only seven holdouts among the Senate Democrats — all of whom, except for Florida’s Bill Nelson, represent solid red states.

Mark Kirk’s Beautiful Gay-Marriage Endorsement