Sen. Kay Hagan comes out for marriage equality

WiG

U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan, a Democrat from North Carolina, joins a growing list of Democratic senators to announce support for marriage equality.

Hagan, in a statement, said, “I know there are strong feelings on both sides, and I have a great deal of respect for their opinions. But after much thought and prayer on my part this is where I am today. I know all our families do not look alike. We all want the same thing for our families. We want happiness, we want health, prosperity, a bright future for our children and grandchildren. After conversations I’ve had with family members, with people I go to church with and with North Carolinians from all walks of life, I’ve come to my own personal conclusion that we should not tell people who they can love, or who they can marry. It’s time to move forward with this issue.”

The U.S. Supreme Court is hearing oral arguments today on the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which bars the U.S. government from recognizing the legal marriages of gays and lesbians.

On March 26, the high court heard oral arguments on Proposition 8, the voter-approved constitutional amendment that brought same-sex marriages to a halt in California and defined marriage as the union of a man and a woman.

The court is expected to decide the cases in late June.

When DOMA passed in 1996, the Senate vote was 86-14 in favor of the legislation. The U.S. House vote was 342–67.

Since then, a number of those who voted for the legislation, as well as the president who signed it, have said they now disagree with DOMA. And a number have endorsed marriage equality.