Amidst a rush of politicians to support equal marriage across the US, Democratic Senator Bob Casey has announced his support for efforts to legalise it.
The Democratic Senator for Pennsylvania announced his support for equal marriage this week. He previously supported civil unions, and other pro-LGBT measures such as the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, but said after careful consideration he has come out in full support of same-sex marriage.
In a statement on Tueday he said: “After much deliberation and after reviewing the legal, public policy and civil-rights questions presented, I support marriage equality for same-sex couples and believe that [The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)] should be repealed.”
He went on to say that he began to reassess his position on the issue back in 2011, when the Respect for Marriage Act, a measure to remove DOMA was first introduced.
“I began to focus on the issue of same-sex marriage much more intensely than I had before,” he continued.
The Senator also said that he had considered individual cases of gay and lesbian couples in the state, and said that those had an impact on his decision.
“These stories had a substantial impact on my position on this issue,” he said. “If two people of the same sex fall in love and want to marry, why would our government stand in their way? At a time when many Americans lament a lack of commitment in our society between married men and women, why would we want less commitment and fewer strong marriages? If two people of the same sex want to raise children, why would our government prevent them from doing so, especially when so many children have only one parent or none at all?
“As a senator and as a citizen, I can no longer in good conscience take a position that denies her and her family the full measure of equality and respect,” Casey concluded.
Senator Casey defeated Republican Rick Santorum in the 2006 election, and was the first Democrat to be elected to a full term and win reelection in the US Senate from Pennsylvania since 1962.
This was the second day of hearings, as Tuesday the court heard arguments around Proposition 8, the state of California’s ban on equal marriage. Then the justices questioned the meaning of marriage, and challenged arguments for the ban.
A decision by the Supreme Court in both cases is expected by the end of June.
The former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, officially announced her support for equal marriage in a moving speech last week in which she called moves towards equality “breathtaking and inspiring”.