SPRINGFIELD, IL (IRN) – A gay rights advocate says it’s a big deal when a Republican comes out in support of same-sex marriage.

That’s what U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) did, making him just the second Republican senator to do so. Bernard Cherkasov, head of the group Equality Illinois, says any politician in favor is cause for celebration but especially when it’s a Republican.

“Support for the freedom to marry is part of the Democratic platform, and from the president on down, a majority of Democratic officials fully support the freedom to marry, but for Republicans, this is still in the early phases of nationally prominent Republicans coming forward,” he said.

Cherkasov says Kirk is influential among moderate Republicans, but it is his argument itself that’s compelling. “He talked about how short and precious life is and learning that lesson that really life comes down to who you love and who loves you back,” he said.

U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam (R-Wheaton) says he believes Kirk’s announcement is sincere and he respects it, though he doesn’t agree with it, but he says it’s OK within the party. “I think the Republican tent is plenty big. The Republican tent is very compelling and a great invitation for all kinds of folks to get active in the GOP,” he said.


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