CHICAGO — GOP Sen. Mark Kirk of Illinois on Tuesday became the second sitting Republican senator to endorse gay marriage — a move that also could shift the political debate over legalizing gay marriage in Kirk’s home state.
Kirk, who has opposed a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, said in a post on his blog that “same-sex couples should have the right to civil marriage.”
“Our time on this Earth is limited, I know that better than most,” said Kirk, who suffered a stroke in January 2012. “Life comes down to who you love and who loves you back — government has no place in the middle.”
Kirk went through months of rehabilitation before returning to work in Washington this January. He said in his blog post that he promised himself he would return “with an open mind and greater respect for others.”
Kirk is Illinois’ ranking Republican lawmaker. His announcement brings to 50 the number of U.S. senators — the vast majority of them Democrats — who are on record in support of gay marriage, according to Freedom to Marry, a group that supports gay marriage.