The Slatest

The Number of Senate Republicans Backing Gay Marriage Just Doubled

Vice President Joe Biden greets Illinois Senator Mark Kirk upon his return to the Senate on January 3, 2013 after suffering a stroke last January

Photo by Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images

Republican Sen. Rob Portman now has company: Sen. Mark Kirk, an Illinois Republican who recently returned to work after suffering a stroke, today became the second GOP senator to come out in favor of gay marriage. Here’s his full statement:

“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 and Portman are the only two Senate Republicans to publicly back same-sex marriage. A third, Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski, however, recently suggested that she’s still “evolving” on the issue. On the other side of the aisle, meanwhile, there are only seven remaining Democratic senators who have yet to voice their support for allowing gays and lesbians to walk down the aisle.

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