Already defeated for reelection, US Congressman Charles Bass of New Hampshire became the third Republican in the US House of Representatives to break ranks with the party by supporting gay marriage.
Bass has agreed to co-sponsor the the Respect for Marriage Act which would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act that currently bans federal benefits from going to married same-sex couples in the US.
The bill was originated by Rep. Jerrold Nadler of New York who announced Bass' support. The announcement came a day after New York House member Richard Hanna made his support public.
'Rep. Bass is the second Republican in the past week to endorse equal protection for all Americans,' Nadler said in a statement to The Advocate on Thursday (27 December). 'Though he won't be continuing his service in the next Congress, his commitment to equality and ending discrimination is truly appreciated.'
Bass held his seat in the House from 1995 to 2007 then returned in 2011. But he was defeated for reelection in November by Democratic candidate Ann Kuster.
The Republican support for the Respect for Marriage Act comes shortly after failed Republican presidential race candidate and former Speaker of the US House of Representatives Newt Gingrich said that same-sex marriage was inevitable in the US and that Republicans will have to find ways to adjust to that.
Florida House member Ileana Ros-Lehtinen became the first Republican to sign on in support of the Respect for Marriage Act back in September 2011.