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Senator-Mark-KirkIllinois Republican Sen. Mark Kirk became the 50th U.S. Senator — and second Republican Senator, after Rob Portman — to come out in support of same-sex marriage.

Sen. Kirk made the announcement on his blog today:

“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.”

Freedom to Marry applauded Kirk’s statement of support, noting that the Senate is “on the verge of a majority for marriage.”

“As members of Congress are talking with their family, friends, colleagues, and constituents, they come to understand why marriage matters to gay couples as to non-gay, and speak up in support of fairness and freedom,” said Freedom to Marry founder and president Evan Wolfson. “Senator Kirk’s heartfelt words about values of treating others as we’d all want to be treated in our precious time on this planet powerfully make the case for the freedom to marry — and the need for decision-makers to end marriage discrimination in the United States.”

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