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."

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"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 McCaskillBill would target retaliation against military sexual assault victims Senate Dem takes on drugmaker: ‘It’s time to slaughter some hogs’ Week ahead: Drug pricing back in focus MORE (D-Mo.) and Jon TesterJon TesterElizabeth Warren stumps, raises funds for Duckworth Senators subpoena EPA officials over mine waste spill The Hill's 12:30 Report 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 CarperSenators urge White House to speed cyber policy updates Retailers battle financial sector over data breach legislation Senate approves new Veterans Affairs watchdog MORE (Del.), Bob CaseyBob CaseyObama-backed Dem makes gains in Pa. primary Senate introduces tariff relief bill Lawmakers react to Villanova's buzzer-beater NCAA win MORE (Pa.), Joe DonnellyJoe DonnellyDemocrats block energy spending bill over Iran amendment GOP blocks Obama sanctions czar Indiana GOP divided over Senate primary MORE (Ind.), Tim JohnsonTim JohnsonOn Wall Street, Dem shake-up puts party at crossroads Regulators fret over FOIA reform bill Senators push back against using guarantee fees to offset spending MORE (S.D.), Heidi HeitkampHeidi Heitkamp oil is changing the world and Washington GOP blocks Obama sanctions czar Overnight Finance: Obama huddles with Yellen; Puerto Rico bill markup Wednesday 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 ManchinPennsylvania Senate rivals use Trump, Clinton as ammunition Democrats block energy spending bill over Iran amendment Coal Country’s top lawyer takes on Obama’s EPA MORE (W.Va.), Bill NelsonBill NelsonThree more Republican senators to meet with Supreme Court nominee This week: Congress on track to miss Puerto Rico deadline Senate looks for easy wins amid 2016 gridlock 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.

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