U.S. senator Kay Hagan of North Carolina has joined the ranks of marriage equality supporters.
“I’ve come to my own personal conclusion that we should not tell people who they can love, or who they can marry,” she told The News & Observer of Raleigh today.
Hagan had been one of 10 Democratic senators who had not endorsed marriage equality. The remaining holdouts are Mark Pryor of Arkansas, Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, Bill Nelson of Florida, Tom Carper of Delaware, Tim Johnson of South Dakota, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, and Joe Donnelly of Indiana.
Hagan said she came to her conclusion “after much thought and prayer” and “conversations I’ve had with family members, with people I go to church with, and with North Carolinians from all walks of life.” She added, “I know there are strong feelings on both sides, and I have a great deal of respect for their opinions.”
Although Hagan has only now publicly endorsed same-sex marriage rights, she did oppose the anti–marriage equality amendment to the state constitution that North Carolina voters passed last year.
Hagan is up for reelection next year. When asked how her new stance might affect her chances, she said, “I’m not interested in playing political pundit. I’ve never made a decision based on future elections.”