A Republican Senator in the US answered the question of whether his views opposing equal marriage had changed briefly and frankly, saying that they had not.
Speaking to Politico, Senator Saxby Chambliss was asked whether his opposition to equal marriage might change, in the wake of fellow Republican Senator Rob Portman, who changed his stance last week after his son came out as gay.
“It’s a change of heart from the position of a father,” Portman said, speaking of his son, who came out in 2011.
When asked if he had changed his stance, Senator Chambliss replied simply: “I’m not gay. So I’m not going to marry one.” His comments have caused controversy amidst the contention around the issue.
The Politico article which quoted Chambliss goes on to state that lawmakers in the US Congress are ”changing their legislative tactics and toning down their public rhetoric – rather than undergoing a sea change in their stances.”
Another reason his comments have caused such controversy could be that they come at a time when several polls suggest that support for equal marriage is at an all time high in the US.
One Pew Research Centre poll said that 28% of current equal marriage supporters did not previously support it. The research suggests that the supporters of equal marriage often said their attitudes had changed because they knew someone gay.
Reports suggest that Senator Chambliss is not seeking re-election in 2014.
On 26 March, the court will take up the case of whether to overturn Proposition 8, which in 2008 added a clause to the Californian constitution stating that marriage could only be recognised by the state if it were between a man and a woman, causing widespread controversy.
The Supreme Court is also due on 27 March to hear evidence around the case of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which defines marriage as between a man and a woman, passed under President Bill Clinton in 1996.
Last week, the head of a well-known law firm and top attorney said that he expects the US Supreme Court to resoundingly support equal marriage, when it takes on two cases challenging equal marriage bans in America.
Some have suggested that the GOP is becoming split over the issue of equal marriage. Back in February, Clint Eastwood joined over 100 top Republicans who signed up to argue that the Supreme Court should overturn Prop 8.
On Monday, the former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, officially announced her support for equal marriage in a moving speech in which she calls moves towards equality “breathtaking and inspiring”.