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Sen. Kirk announces support for gay marriage

Tuesday, Apr 2, 2013

* Wow

A second Republican senator has announced his support for gay marriage, with Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) joining Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio).

Kirk, who recently returned to the Senate after suffering a significant stroke, suggested in a statement that his near-death experience has changed his perspective.

* From Sen. Kirk’s 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.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

54 Comments
  1. - Ray del Camino - Tuesday, Apr 2, 13 @ 11:29 am:

    Bravo!


  2. - Aldyth - Tuesday, Apr 2, 13 @ 11:29 am:

    Well said, Senator Kirk.


  3. - Chevy owner/Ford County - Tuesday, Apr 2, 13 @ 11:30 am:

    Good for him!


  4. - Wensicia - Tuesday, Apr 2, 13 @ 11:30 am:

    This is great news! Will it help sway the vote for gay marriage in Springfield?


  5. - OneMan - Tuesday, Apr 2, 13 @ 11:31 am:

    Cool


  6. - Chavez-respecting Obamist - Tuesday, Apr 2, 13 @ 11:35 am:

    Good for him.


  7. - Responsa - Tuesday, Apr 2, 13 @ 11:35 am:

    Sen. Kirk has my support and respect.


  8. - Just Observing - Tuesday, Apr 2, 13 @ 11:37 am:

    Thumbs up.


  9. - RonOglesby - Tuesday, Apr 2, 13 @ 11:38 am:

    People change their mind.

    Or sometimes they don’t. Maybe he has felt this way personally for a while but (because of politics) has not been public about it (like the President).


  10. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Apr 2, 13 @ 11:38 am:

    The guy has guts. That’s called leadership. I didn’t vote for him the last time, but I look forward to doing so the next time.


  11. - Grandson of Man - Tuesday, Apr 2, 13 @ 11:41 am:

    I agree, good for Sen. Kirk. I love what he said, that he realized life’s finality and that marriage boils down to whom you love.


  12. - MrJM - Tuesday, Apr 2, 13 @ 11:42 am:

    Hats off to Sen. Kirk!

    – MrJM


  13. - qcexaminer - Tuesday, Apr 2, 13 @ 11:42 am:

    I loved the qualifier in this sentence:

    “Same-sex couples should have the right to CIVIL marriage.”

    Very smart and politically savvy.


  14. - Skeeter - Tuesday, Apr 2, 13 @ 11:43 am:

    Oh no. He opposed the state party platform. Expect calls for his resignation and a primary opponent.

    Because when it comes to ripping anybody with a proven ability to get votes, nobody does it like the ILGOP.


  15. - RMW Stanford - Tuesday, Apr 2, 13 @ 11:43 am:

    Good for Senator Kirk


  16. - Endangered Moderate Species - Tuesday, Apr 2, 13 @ 11:45 am:

    The ILGOP may finally have a leader whom can bring them back to being a consequential policy making party.


  17. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Apr 2, 13 @ 11:46 am:

    An Illinois Republican who supports equal rights and doesn’t load his pants every time the NRA barks…

    there’s still hope for the state GOP.


  18. - phocion - Tuesday, Apr 2, 13 @ 11:47 am:

    Cool!


  19. - RonOglesby - Tuesday, Apr 2, 13 @ 11:50 am:

    Ahhh good ole wordslinger. Find a GOPer that acts more like a Dem and its the only thing you can say good about it.

    I support SSM. But its funny how partisan people are. Its like… Cubs fan vs Sox fan in this state.


  20. - Skeeter - Tuesday, Apr 2, 13 @ 11:54 am:

    RonO,

    You are absolutely right.

    “Letting consenting adults do what they want as long as they do not hurt anybody else” is, in Illinois at least, “acting like a Dem.”

    And that’s why the ILGOP is a footnote.


  21. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Apr 2, 13 @ 11:59 am:

    Ronny, I’d say he’s acting more like an old-school Illinois Republican. You know, the ones who were relevant and won elections and such.

    QCE, you found the word “civil” significant? Were you under the impression that laws are anything other than civil authority?


  22. - Shore - Tuesday, Apr 2, 13 @ 12:18 pm:

    Leadership would have been doing it years ago and taking on the party, waiting until Portman came out for it even though Kirk has supported glbt issues for years is not. He’ll get kudos, but doing it on a tuesday after a holiday suggests this is more for political reasons then an act of courage and leadership.


  23. - UISer - Tuesday, Apr 2, 13 @ 12:20 pm:

    Why is the word “civil” important in the statement @qcexaminer? What other form of marriage does the government deal with?


  24. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Apr 2, 13 @ 12:23 pm:

    ===but doing it on a tuesday after a holiday===

    If he had issued the press release on Good Friday, I’d see your point. Otherwise, I don’t.


  25. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Apr 2, 13 @ 12:23 pm:

    I disagree, Shore. It’s not like there’s a crowd among elected GOP officials on the subject.

    Most seem to want the Supremes to do the heavy lifting and make it go away.


  26. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Apr 2, 13 @ 12:24 pm:

    Someone better get Senator Oberweis his “smelling salts”!

    There was a time … when a Republican could be someone who was “thoughtful” and “courageous”, and NOT be called a RINO, or “out of touch with REAL Republicans”.

    My hope for My Party, is that the SCC will look at a “Mark Kirk” as a Republican, and not “unpure to the platform and beliefs of the GOP and the ILGOP platform”.

    Can’t we get a quote from Oberweis on the Kirk statement? Please???

    Well done, United States Senator Mark Kirk. Help our Party, sir, understand the Reagan Rule of 80% is far more important than the “Purity” those “Non-RINOs” crave.


  27. - 47th Ward - Tuesday, Apr 2, 13 @ 12:28 pm:

    Thanks Senator Kirk.


  28. - ChicagoR - Tuesday, Apr 2, 13 @ 1:27 pm:

    ” support SSM. But its funny how partisan people Iare.”

    Seems to me that most of those praising him here are the opposite of partisan. They are congratulating a member of a party they don’t normally vote for, and their congratulations are based on substance.


  29. - Justin - Tuesday, Apr 2, 13 @ 1:40 pm:

    Even though I voted for Giannoulias back 2010, I’m applauding Kirk for being on the right side of history.

    The IFI and their ilk aren’t going to be happy about.


  30. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Apr 2, 13 @ 2:11 pm:

    –Life comes down to who you love and who loves you back– government has no place in the middle.–

    Any of the Usual Suspects running for governor care to address that statement?


  31. - TooManyJens - Tuesday, Apr 2, 13 @ 2:13 pm:

    I like that he specified “civil marriage” because the anti-SSM side has benefitted from blurring the lines between civil and religious marriage. It’s good to clarify that religious rules don’t and shouldn’t apply to civil marriage, and conversely that the government isn’t trying to make churches marry anyone they don’t want to marry.


  32. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Apr 2, 13 @ 2:47 pm:

    The Washington Post broke down the numbers in Congress:

    With Kirk, two of 45 GOP Senators support gay marriage, along with two of 232 GOP House members.

    I’d say that’s some guts and leadership, being one of the four among 277.


  33. - Esquire - Tuesday, Apr 2, 13 @ 2:48 pm:

    I wonder if Jack Roeser’s issuing a press release about US Senator Mark Kirk? lol.

    As for Republicans daring to make a difference and being “thoughtful” and “courageous” or being “on the right side of history,” how many African Americans stopped voting for Democrats when Congressional Republicans (especially in the US Senate) provided the necessary support for much of the civil rights legislation during the Sixties?

    Sound effect: (crickets chirping)

    My point is that voters do not always reward politicians for doing the right thing.

    Stereotypes are hard to break. Poorly informed people still call Republicans “racists” despite the recent success of the movie “Lincoln.” Steven Spielberg showed that the opposition to XIIIth Amendment was on the side of the Congressional Democrats.

    The last gay friendly Republican Governor was George H. Ryan. How did that work out?


  34. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Apr 2, 13 @ 2:54 pm:

    ===The last gay friendly Republican Governor was George H. Ryan. How did that work out? ===

    He was the last Republican to win the governor’s office. So, it worked out well. He also won some Chicago wards.


  35. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Apr 2, 13 @ 3:07 pm:

    ===
    ===The last gay friendly Republican Governor was George H. Ryan. How did that work out? ===

    He was the last Republican to win the governor’s office. So, it worked out well. He also won some Chicago wards.===

    So, do we want to be Right and Pure and lose …

    Or be a Political Party, embrace our similarities and our differences, and work to gether … to win?

    This should be an easy answer.


  36. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Apr 2, 13 @ 3:11 pm:

    –how many African Americans stopped voting for Democrats when Congressional Republicans (especially in the US Senate) provided the necessary support for much of the civil rights legislation during the Sixties?–

    Huh? Black voters in the sixties were not as staunchly Democratic as they are now, and with good reason.

    Most of the opposition to civil rights legislation came from Southern Democrats.

    So, black voters kept on such on supporting the likes of Jacob Javits and Ev Dirksen. And those old Southern Democrats are now Southern Republicans.


  37. - TooManyJens - Tuesday, Apr 2, 13 @ 3:16 pm:

    ==Poorly informed people still call Republicans “racists” despite the recent success of the movie “Lincoln.”==

    Is this a joke?


  38. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Apr 2, 13 @ 3:31 pm:

    Esquire, while it’s laudable that you are justifiably proud of your party’s 19th Century record on race, you are more than a little ignorant of what happened in the second half of the 20th Century, beginning with Nixon’s “Southern Strategy.” Also, too, the 21st Century. Not so great on the race front.


  39. - Just The Way It Is One - Tuesday, Apr 2, 13 @ 3:55 pm:

    Well I must say that although I’m not shocked, as the Senator has shown a good deal of moderate GOP approaches to a good number of issues, still, I must admit that I wouldn’t have EXPECTed this announcement. With this switch, and the obviously minute number of GOP U.S. Sens. and Reps. on board with this position, however, it MAY be that at least SOME heretofore disinterested Illinois voters, sympathetic to his plight, will be watching his switches–however many there turn out to be with his new “open mind” standard, apparently, on various issues–a little more closely from here on out to see if they can swallow them, in terms of what many of us have assumed would be, since his tragic setback with the stroke and all, his overall support and seemingly secure future in the Senate….


  40. - Bush Twins - Tuesday, Apr 2, 13 @ 3:57 pm:

    Esquire, know your history. The D and R parties have largely reversed positions since the reconstruction era. My bet is that Lincoln would be a D today. (And the way things are looking I wonder if Reagan would be too.)


  41. - Boone Logan Square - Tuesday, Apr 2, 13 @ 4:02 pm:

    Regardless of timing, the right thing to do. Also the smart thing to do, despite the wailing from the usual suspects. Probably the best news the Illinois GOP has had since Rutherford and Topkina won statewide offices in 2010.


  42. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Apr 2, 13 @ 4:37 pm:

    Does Kirk’s announcement move any Illinois House GOPers to “yes?”


  43. - Left Leaner - Tuesday, Apr 2, 13 @ 5:03 pm:

    Bravo Senator Kirk!


  44. - hisgirlfriday - Tuesday, Apr 2, 13 @ 5:11 pm:

    Here’s hoping it does give them cover to do so, wordslinger.

    This also creates an interesting litmus test right out of the gate for the GOP primary. Which IL gubernatorial candidate will grab on to Kirk’s coattails on this first? Surely at least one of them will.


  45. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Apr 2, 13 @ 5:13 pm:

    ===Does Kirk’s announcement move any Illinois House GOPers to “yes?”===

    I can “imagine” 3 or even 4 more. Not going to say who they are, but looking at the Caucus, it would not be too much of a stretch to guess.

    If I were Cross, I would “hold” them, and work something out so a “claimed” victory could be achieved as a “bi-partisan” effort, marginalizing the Far Right, move the discussion to the Moderate thoughts on the Social issues, and give the SCC an inoculation for the removal of Pat Brady with the “bi-partisan” SSM Bill awaiting the Governor’s signature.

    Doubt that can be pulled off, given where the HGOP is, today, and the SGOP’s single vote, but, worth a try, and great “cover” for the 3-4, and for the SCC’s removal of Brady.


  46. - ArchPundit - Tuesday, Apr 2, 13 @ 5:22 pm:

    ===Leadership would have been doing it years ago and taking on the party, waiting until Portman came out for it even though Kirk has supported glbt issues for years is not.

    In his defense, he’s been kind of preoccupied this year.

    Good for him on this.


  47. - Esquire - Tuesday, Apr 2, 13 @ 6:18 pm:

    Rich,

    When viewed in totality, I doubt many would rate George H. Ryan’s tenure as Governor or Secretary of State as a success notwitstanding his support from activists opposed to Glenn Poshard. Yes, he did get elected, but overall was it worth it?

    I cannot dispute Richard M. Nixon’s “Southern strategy,” so you are correct, but it is worth mentioning that his operatives were trolling for Southern Democrats who would split their tickets. George Wallace, Orval Faubus, and many others were Democrats.

    As a national, state and local party, the Democrats were hostile to blacks well into the 20th Century. If you read some back issues of “The Chicago Defender,” (which is available online from the Chicago Public Library) the newspaper was quite friendly to Republican candidates well into the Forties. At the same time, the Chicago Democrats dumped Mayor Ed Kelly for being too open minded on integration. Let’s not go into Richard J. Daley’s civil rights record.


  48. - Arthur Andersen - Tuesday, Apr 2, 13 @ 6:49 pm:

    Thanks Sen. Kirk. 50th vote, right?


  49. - Nice kid - Tuesday, Apr 2, 13 @ 7:07 pm:

    Esquire, what is your point?


  50. - Esquire - Tuesday, Apr 2, 13 @ 7:22 pm:

    My original point, somewhat obscured by the dialogue, is that Kirk will not garner too many votes in appreciation of his announcement. People will applaud him today and contribute to his opponent and vote against him if he seeks reelection.


  51. - wayward - Tuesday, Apr 2, 13 @ 9:05 pm:

    I keep liking Kirk more and more.


  52. - Odysseus - Tuesday, Apr 2, 13 @ 10:51 pm:

    @Esquire: Of course I’m going to vote against him. One good deed does not make him a worthwhile representative. Senator Kirk would have to change far more of his stances to even begin to be tolerable.


  53. - I saw it coming - Wednesday, Apr 3, 13 @ 8:48 am:

    I always figured Kirk to be a RINO and now we know for sure. He just lost my vote and plenty of others.
    Just another politician not representing the wishes of the people that elected him.


  54. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Apr 3, 13 @ 8:56 am:

    ===I always figured Kirk to be a RINO===

    lol, Always the “RINO”.

    This isn’t about “blood oaths and Litmus Tests”!

    So, - I saw it coming -, even though you may agree with Kirk, even 80% of the time, you will either sit on your hands, or not vote for Kirk? A Democrat can have the same position as Kirk on this issue, so you can’t vote for them, right???

    Well, good luck with finding your … “Purity”. There are not enough of you “Litmus Testers” to make a Majority Party, so now what?

    ===…and plenty of others.===

    Good Luck to all you “RINO Busters”.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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