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Sen. Bob Casey backs gay marriage

April 01, 2013|By Colby Itkowitz, Allentown Morning Call
  • Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) announced Monday that he is in favor of same-sex marriage.
Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) announced Monday that he is in favor of same-sex marriage. (Jessica Kourkounis / Getty…)

WASHINGTON – Sen. Bob Casey, a Pennsylvania Democrat, reversed course Monday and called for the repeal of the federal law that defines marriage as between one man and one woman.

His decision leaves only 8 of 53 Senate Democrats who still oppose same-sex marriages. It comes less than a week after the Supreme Court heard arguments on two gay marriage cases, including a challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act.

In an interview with the Allentown, Pa., Morning Call, Casey said he now supports the right of gays and lesbians to marry, and said he would sign on as a co-sponsor on a bill to repeal the act.

“I ultimately decided that to make a decision about DOMA was making a decision about marriage equality itself,” Casey said.

FULL COVERAGE: Battle over gay marriage

Half a dozen Senate Democrats have changed their views and announced support for same-sex marriage in recent weeks. When Casey stayed quiet, Pennsylvania’s gay community and its supporters flooded his office with letters and phone calls urging him to follow suit.

In the interview, Casey said the calls, shifting public opinion and what he called “basic civil rights and fairness” convinced him to write a personal statement during the Easter break to explain his shift in position. The statement was released Monday afternoon.

“If two people of the same sex fall in love and want to marry, why would our government stand in their way?” Casey wrote. “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?”

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