Kirk Becomes Second GOP Senator to Endorse Same-Sex Marriage

Citing his new outlook on life after his January 2012 stroke, Illinois Sen. Mark Kirk (R) today became the second sitting Republican senator, after Rob Portman (R-Ohio), to come out in favor of same-sex marriage.

Kirk returned to the 113th Congress after intensive rehabilitation.

"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," Kirk said in a statement today.

"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."

Republican LGBT group GOProud hailed Kirk's announcement.

"Like millions of Americans, Senator Mark Kirk has thought about his position on marriage and come to the conclusion that same-sex couples should have the right to civil marriage equality," said Jimmy LaSalvia, executive director of GOProud. "...We thank Senator Kirk for joining a growing chorus of voices across the political spectrum who are standing up for marriage equality."

Kirk said in 2010 that he supported civil unions but not gay marriage, yet advocated not allowing "a federal takeover of all marriage law in the United States."