2nd GOP Senator, Kirk of Illinois, comes out for gay marriage

It’s raining men!  Republican men.  Republican Senator Mark Kirk of Illinois became the second GOP Senator to endorse gay marriage today, according to his blog.

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.

Wow. It doesn’t get more succinct than that.

Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL)

Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL)

This comes on the heels of Republican Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) coming out for gay marriage two weeks ago, after announcing that his son was gay.

I really don’t think we should undervalue this importance of this, culturally or politically.  It’s becoming harder and harder for Republicans to be anti-gay with a straight face.  The new normal isn’t just pro-gay, it’s pro-marriage-equality.  And as society overall shifts in the more pro-gay direction, the the political parties will continue to shift that way, and the media along with them.

Will and Rob Portman, family photo via CNN.

Will and Rob Portman, family photo via CNN.

I had discussed this media angle this weekend on CNN.  My point was that of course the media is somewhat leaning our way – society is somewhat learning our way.  It’s the media’s job to be objective, but also to be in the middle.  And the middle has shifted.  What was once acceptable television ten years ago – to let religious right loons accuse us on TV of being pedophiles – is now being shut down the TV hosts themselves.  The same thing happened with the civil rights movement in the 60s.  Back then, it was acceptable in media circles to debate whether inter-racial marriage was a good thing or a bad thing.  If you debate that today you’ll be instantly labeled a bigot, and rightly so.  That doesn’t mean the media is now biased on civil rights issues, it means the objective middle moved in the direction of fairness and equality, as it has on gay rights as well.

Understandably the bigoted old guard of the Republican party is flipping out.  Former RNC chair Ed Gillespie says the party will never support same-sex marriage.

Crooks and Liars has some of the transcript:

“I don’t see the Republican Party or most Republicans changing in terms of marriage is between one man and one woman,” Gillespie explained. “I do think that in the context of this debate, as in so many other debates, Republicans have been cast in the negative — you know in the negative, saying we’re opposing something as opposed to talking about what most Republicans are for.”

“Most Republicans are also for the benefits of marriage in the legal system that are afforded protections like, for example, hospital visitation rights or survivorship benefits,” he added. “And I think you’ll hear more Republicans making that point, that we can do those things without having the government sanction same sex marriage.”

Wallace wondered if Gillespie would have any problem with the 2016 Republican Party platform saying that “marriage is between a man and a woman.”

“I wouldn’t have any problem with that,” the former RNC chairman insisted. “I believe the platform right now calls for a federal constitutional amendment to ban it. There may be a debate about that. I don’t think you would ever see the Republican Party platform say we’re in favor of same sex marriage.”

Ooh, hospital visits.  Thanks, Ed.  How very 1993 of you.  Are you for inter-racial marriage too?

As for the not being for a negative, but for a positive, how’s this for a new GOP slogan: “Join the Republican party: We’re not for civil rights, but we oppose slavery!” (* Not applicable in Mississippi that only abolished slavery a few weeks ago.)


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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