Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Casey Says He Supports Gay Marriage

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Casey Says He Supports Gay Marriage

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON -- And then there were eight.

U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., took his support for gay relationships a step further Monday when he announced he now backs the right to same-sex marriage.

"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?" Mr. Casey asked in a written statement.

That leaves just eight Democrats in the U.S. Senate who either oppose same-sex marriage or haven't taken a clear public stance on it.

Last week, as the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in a pair of same-sex marriage cases, several of Mr. Casey's colleagues held a string of news conferences to announce they now support the right of gay people to wed -- Kay Hagan of North Carolina and Jon Tester of Montana, then Mark Warner of Virginia and Claire McCaskill of Missouri.

And now the list includes Mr. Casey of Pennsylvania, a devout Catholic who previously expressed support for civil union but had stopped short of saying same-sex commitments deserved the same designation and rights of traditional marriages.

That changed Monday with an announcement that included a promise to work toward repealing the 1996 law that prevents the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages.

Known by the acronym DOMA, the Defense of Marriage Act was at the center of a case argued before the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday. If the Supreme Court rules for plaintiff Edith Windsor of New York, the government will be forced to recognize same-sex marriage even if Congress doesn't repeal the law.

A decision is expected in June.

Opponents, including participants in last week's arguments, say that the primary purpose of marriage is procreation and that gay people cannot have children and therefore should not be allowed to wed.

Same-sex marriage is legal in nine states and the District of Columbia. It is not legal in Pennsylvania.

Mr. Casey said he decided to stand up for gay marriage after receiving numerous letters and phone calls from constituents, including some gay couples who said they pay thousands of dollars a year more in taxes than they would if they were in heterosexual marriages. …

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