Sen. Hagan latest Democrat to declare support for same-sex marriage

Sen. Kay HaganKay Hagan10 Senate seats most likely to flip in 2016 Senate Republicans are feeling the 'Trump effect' Washington's lobby firms riding high MORE (N.C.) on Wednesday became the latest Democratic senator to announce her support for same-sex marriage, as the Supreme Court weighs two landmark cases on gay rights.

In an interview on Wednesday, Hagan told the Raleigh News & Observer "we should not tell people who they can love or who they can marry."

ADVERTISEMENT
"I know there are strong feelings on both sides, and I have a great deal of respect for their opinions," the North Carolina senator said. "But after much thought and prayer on my part this is where I am today.

"I know all our families do not look alike. We all want the same thing for our families. We want happiness, we want health, prosperity, a bright future for our children and grandchildren,” Hagan continued.

Hagan said that she had discussed the issue with her family and thought about it deeply before reaching her decision.

“After conversations I’ve had with family members, with people I go to church with and with North Carolinians from all walks of life, I’ve come to my own personal conclusion that we should not tell people who they can love, or who they can marry,” she said. “It’s time to move forward with this issue."

Hagan follows a number of other prominent Democratic senators this week, including many from swing states or traditionally Republican strongholds, who have publicly embraced gay marriage. Earlier this week Sens. Claire McCaskillClaire McCaskillBlame game begins on Zika funding Overnight Tech: Obama heads back to Silicon Valley | FCC meeting preview | Yahoo bans terror content | Zuckerberg on sit-in live streams Senator shares frustrating call with cable company MORE (D-Mo.) and Jon TesterJon TesterBernie Sanders’s awkward return to the Senate Senators roll out bipartisan gun proposal Congress should stop government hacking and protect the Fourth Amendment MORE (D-Mont.) announced their support.

Hagan's announcement means there are nine Democrats in the Senate who have not endorsed same-sex marriage. They are Sens. Tom CarperTom CarperWhite House seeks distance from ISIS transcript edit White House: Redaction decision was all Justice Dem senator: CDC already has authority to study guns MORE (Del.), Bob CaseyBob CaseyThe Hill's 12:30 Report Dems launch new effort on guns after Orlando carnage New bill would ban gun sales to those convicted of hate crimes MORE (Pa.), Joe DonnellyJoe DonnellyOvernight Finance: Trump threatens NAFTA withdrawal | Senate poised for crucial Puerto Rico vote | Ryan calls for UK trade deal | Senate Dems block Zika funding deal Senate Democrats block Zika agreement ahead of recess Post Orlando, hawks make a power play MORE (Ind.), Tim JohnsonTim JohnsonFormer GOP senator endorses Clinton after Orlando shooting Housing groups argue Freddie Mac's loss should spur finance reform On Wall Street, Dem shake-up puts party at crossroads MORE (S.D.), Heidi HeitkampHeidi HeitkampGun-control supporters plan next steps versus NRA McConnell quashes Senate effort on guns Senators roll out bipartisan gun proposal MORE (N.D.), Mary LandrieuMary Landrieu oil is changing the world and Washington Ex-Sen. Kay Hagan joins lobby firm Republican announces bid for Vitter’s seat MORE (La.), Joe ManchinJoe ManchinOvernight Finance: Trump threatens NAFTA withdrawal | Senate poised for crucial Puerto Rico vote | Ryan calls for UK trade deal | Senate Dems block Zika funding deal Overnight Energy: Volkswagen reaches .7B settlement over emissions Senators rally for coal miner pension fix MORE (W.Va.), Bill NelsonBill NelsonCongress prepping short-term FAA bill Overnight Finance: McConnell tees up Puerto Rico vote | Britain's credit rating slashed | Clinton vows to appoint trade prosecutor McConnell tees up House Puerto Rico bill MORE (Fla.) and Mark PryorMark PryorEx-Sen. Kay Hagan joins lobby firm Top Democrats are no advocates for DC statehood Ex-Sen. Landrieu joins law and lobby firm MORE (Ark.).

The spate of announcements come as the Supreme Court weighs the constitutionality of laws defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman and denying benefits to same-sex couples.

On Tuesday, the high court considered a challenge to California’s Proposition 8, which bans gay marriage, and on Wednesday is considering the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

Hagan is up for reelection in 2014 in a state that passed an amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman. Hagan said that her reelection was not a factor in her announcement.

"I’ve never made a decision based on future elections," Hagan said to the North Carolina newspaper. "I’m not interested in that. I’m not interested in casting aspersions on those who view this differently."

Updated at 11:53 a.m.

More in News

Same-sex marriages up a year after SCOTUS decision

Read more »