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It's the rare national lawmaker who publicly supports full marriage equality, but Wisconsin senator Russ Feingold joined that select club in April when he announced not only his opposition to the Federal Marriage Amendment but his belief that the government should grant gay couples the right to marry. His sensible proviso was that churches and other religious bodies shouldn't be required to do the same.
Although his bold stance wasn't enough to beat back the same-sex marriage ban on the ballot in his home state in 2006, it was a welcome lesson in political courage for his Capitol Hill colleagues. "It was really a matter of my own personal conscience that led me to do this," he told The Advocate, adding that his "many" gay and lesbian friends "now know that there's no doubt in my mind that they should be able to have the same privileges that I do."
Too bad he recently decided not to seek the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008. But such vocal support from a powerful leader gives us hope for a better America.