Flood Gates Open As Another GOP Congressman Comes Out For Gay Marriage

 

Charles_W._Dent

Elected Republicans serving in Congress have been slow to accept marriage equality, even as a majority of Americans now support legalizing same-sex marriages. However, House Republican Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania publicly voiced his support for marriage equality today. In a statement, Dent remarked:

Life is too short to have the force of government stand in the way of two adults whose pursuit of happiness includes marriage.

With today’s announcement, Dent becomes just the third Republican in the U.S. House to support marriage equality, joining Florida’s Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and New York’s Richard Hanna. Senators Rob Portman (OH), Mark Kirk (IL), and Lisa Murkowski (AK) have also publicly expressed support for marriage equality.

Dent represents a swing district that centers around Allentown which barely supported Mitt Romney in 2012, but narrowly chose Obama over McCain in 2008. Dent was first elected to Congress in 2004 and has never won more than 60 percent of the vote in a House race. However, despite the potentially competitive nature of his district, he faces no Democratic opponent in 2014. For this reason, his evolution on gay marriage does not appear to be motivated by fear of losing in 2014. Of course, he could already be considering the impact of making sure he is on the right side of history for future elections.  Regardless of his reason for evolving, his support for marriage equality is welcome, given how few in his party have stepped forward on behalf of basic human rights for LGBT Americans.

While Dent is not exactly a household name, he is a Republican Congressman. Therefore his evolution on gay marriage is further evidence that the right-wing is losing the battle on marriage equality. The flood gates are opening, and it is likely that over the next several months, more and more Republicans will join the ranks of Americans who favor marriage equality.



Keith Brekhus is a progressive American who currently resides in Red Lodge, Montana. He is co-host for the Liberal Fix radio show. He holds a Master's Degree in Sociology from the University of Missouri. In 2002, he ran for Congress as a Green Party candidate in the state of Missouri. In 2014, he worked as a field organizer for Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick's successful re-election bid in Arizona's 1st Congressional District. He can be followed on Twitter @keithbrekhus or on Facebook.


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