US Senator Mark Kirk of Illinois announced today that he is in favor of gay marriage. He becomes the second Republican in the Senate to do so in recent weeks.
Kirk's announcement makes him and Ohio Senator Rob Portman the first two Republicans in the senate to support marriage equality.
'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 on his website.
'Same-sex couples should have the right to civil marriage,' he added. '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.'
Kirk has been a member of the US Congress since 2000. He served five terms in the House of Representatives before his election to the Senate in 2010.
The state legislature in Illinois is currently considering a bill that would make same-sex marriage legal in the state.