Sen. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania voiced support for marriage equality today, bringing the number of Democratic U.S. senators in the opposition down to eight.
Casey issued a statement he spent several days drafting: "If two people of the same sex fall in love and want to marry, why would our government stand in their way? At a time when many Americans lament a lack of commitment in our society between married men and women, why would we want less commitment and fewer strong marriages?"
In an interview with The Morning Call, a Pennsylvania newspaper, Casey added that his stance grew out of his belief that the Defense of Marriage Act, which keeps the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages, should be repealed. "I ultimately decided that to make a decision about DOMA was making a decision about marriage equality itself," he said.
Casey had received numerous letters and phone calls from constituents asking him to support marriage equality, and Pennsylvania state representative Brian Sims, the state's only openly gay legislator, had written an open letter last Thursday urging him to do so. In a press release today, Sims said, "I am pleased to see Senator Casey responding to the voices of his constituents and am eager to work with him in reaching out to the hundreds of thousands of LGBT Pennsylvanians who can now count on his support for LGBT equality."
The eight Democratic senators, out of 53 in the chamber, who do not support marriage equality are Tom Carper of Delaware, Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Tim Johnson of South Dakota, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Bill Nelson of Florida, and Mark Pryor of Arkansas.