Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL) Comes Out for Marriage Equality

Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL) has come out for marriage equality.

KirkSaid Kirk on his website:

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 is the second Republican Senator to come out for marriage equality, joining Ohio's Rob Portman. A marriage equality bill is currently under consideration in Illinois, awaiting a vote in the House.


  1. Louis says

    Is this part of the “you’ll get your equal protection via the ballot box”/”politicians scrambling all over themselves” movement? i.e. don’t declare equal rights for gay couples a constitutional protection but rather a protection that only comes as long as you keep donating to the politicians?

  2. Tyler says

    Guys, he’s the fiftieth Senator. That means, with Joe Biden, that a majority of the United States Senate is on record for marriage equality. Amazing.

  3. Francis says

    Yes, we’re going to see more Democratic and liberal/moderate Republicans come out for marriage equality. Yes, it’s political. Yes, they’re scrambling over themselves to make sure they get on board and say they support our marriage rights because they see where the momentum is.

    I appreciate the support, as should we all. Appreciate, but not celebrate. I’ll celebrate actual equality. As it stands right now a lot of these politicians speaking out in support of our marriage rights haven’t done much if anything at all to actually push said movement in their states.

    I’m happy, because these announcements make it clear we have WON on marriage equality, at least in the public domain. Now we need to see action.

  4. mike/ says

    the one really positive thing about this is that Illinois is working to pass a marriage bill right now. it passed the Senate & is now in the House. this could add more momentum. the leader of the Illinois Republican party came out in favor of it and now our Republican U.S. Senator? wow!

    btw, one of the ‘weirdest’ repugs (Oberweis) tried to oust the leader of the Rep party because of his stand & comments. the answer was a big “Nope!”

  5. BobN says

    This makes Kirk the FIRST Republican senator to support marriage equality. What Portman supports is far, far less than equality. He supports DOMA for god’s sakes.

  6. Randy says

    Looks like that the giant GOP dam of denial has sprung at least two leaks. A few more, and it starts to crumble. I’ll be jumping for joy when the whole thing just collapses and washes away.

  7. e.c. says

    Kirk suffered a stroke, which does give truth to his “life is short” talk. He also has the benefit of not facing reelection until 2016 by which time his support for marriage equality will probably be a non-issue.

  8. disgusted american says

    well it took this guy to HAVE A STROKE literally to realize that LIFE is too short…..well, no matter how you got there – at least you did…shame it took a stroke to do it tho.

  9. Jacques says

    Let’s give credit where credit is due. Sure, I wish it hadn’t taken a stroke to enlighten Senator Kirk, and I wish it hadn’t taken Senator Portman’s son coming out to change his mind. But it still means a lot of have their support, and I am grateful.

    It makes me just a little less unhappy to have Kirk representing my state.

  10. Francis says

    Yeah, Kirk and Portman and some of these other politicians needing a boost to come to the realization we’re equal and deserve equal marriage rights is a bit sketchy. At the end of the day, though, their public statements just add to the well of support we’re gaining. And as Mike said, Illinois is debating marriage equality right now and the votes aren’t there to pass it currently. This adds positive momentum to the equality side in IL.

    These statements just make it clear where things are headed. We’re winning. That alone makes it important. But I’m not going to applaud until we see action.

    The best thing is that as we see more conservative Democrats and Republicans move towards marriage equality, this puts pressure on the entire GOP base, on the entire conservative movement, to become more inclusive, or risk complete irrelevancy.

  11. DK says

    From the last sentence quoted, it appears that the senator is coming to it from the limited government perspective. I would be curious about his other positions, using this as a starting point

  12. Walt NYC says

    I have to admit, I do get a little more enthusiastic when Republican politicians come out in favor of marriage equality. I guess I feel like they have more to lose, politically. Look at how Sen. Portman has been vilified by the right.

  13. Francis says

    Portman nor Kirk are up for reelection anytime soon, though, so the political risk isn’t incredibly high for either. Neither are/were really presidential candidates, either.

    Kay Hagan by far, IMO, has taken the most political risk in coming out for marriage equality. In a purple/light red state of North Carolina, Amendment One passed with 61% vote and there is enough of a religious fundamentalist base in NC to knock her out of her seat. You’re not going to see many Southerners or really deep red state, Dems or Repubs, take proactive stands for equality, IMO. These announcements are first political than they are anything else.

  14. says


    COLUMBUS – Ian James, FreedomOhio co-founder, applauded Mark Kirk, a Republican from Illinois, for being the second GOP member of the U.S. Senate to support marriage equality.

    “As goes Ohio so goes the nation. Two weeks ago, Ohio Republican U.S. Sen. Rob Portman announced his support for marriage equality and today his colleague Mark Kirk from Illinois becomes the second Republican in the U.S. Senate to join him. We believe that with each passing day more and more leaders will embrace the civil rights issue of our generation and call for an end to marriage discrimination,” James said.

    “We still must change the Ohio Constitution to give a same-gender loving couple the right to go to city hall and get a marriage license so they can protect and provide for one another and their family. At the same time, our clear and simple 46-word amendment protects religious freedom by guaranteeing that houses of worship can choose to marry or not marry, recognize or not recognize, a same-gender marriage,” James said.

    FreedomOhio is a statewide non-profit organization with the sole objective of repealing the 2004 Ohio Marriage Ban and replacing it with the Ohio Freedom to Marry and Religious Freedom Amendment. Recent polling from the Columbus Dispatch/Saperstein poll indicates majority support from Ohioans for the amendment with 54% support and 40% opposition. The polling was conducted prior to Sen Portman’s announcement. A Washington Post poll published Oct 9, 2012 of Ohio voters reflected 52% support and 37% opposition to marriage equality.


    For more information:
    Dennis Willard

  15. MaryM says

    Stop saying these politicians are ‘coming out’ – it is incredibly disrespectful to LGBT people who have faced abuse, rejection and violence by being honest, to these political minnows who are merely declaring that they are decent human beings.

    Why is Towleroad trivialising the coming out process in this manner.

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