GOP members are known to be conservative people, and most notably the senators that represent the party are just as conservative as the next. Senator Mark Kirk becomes an exception to that connotation.
Senator Mark Kirk has undoubtedly helped in the very least in swaying the favor for same-sex marriage. A year ago, senator Kirk suffered a severe stroke and did not return to his chamber until early January of this year. As senator Kirk returned, he returned not only with a new vigor, but with a new outlook on everything. In his own words, "when I climbed the Capitol steps in January, I promised myself that I would return to the Senate with an open mind and greater respect for others." Some may even call it an epiphany of sorts, as senator Kirk had a near-death experience, he has had a brand new perspective as of late. "Same-sex couples should have the right to civil marriage. Our time on Earth is limited, I know that better than most. Life comes down to who you love and who loves you back- government has no place in the middle." as said in the Washington Post's article.
The first of the two senators to openly announce their support for same-sex marriage was senator Rob Portman of Ohio. Senator Portman made his announcement on his stand in favor of same-sex marriage under special circumstances. That circumstance was the fact that his son had came out as being gay back in 2011. Along with these two senators, two Republicans in the House signed a brief to the Supreme Court. This brief urged the judges on the Supreme Court to legalize same-sex marriage.The representatives Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FLA) and Richard Hanna (R-N.Y.) are also showing support for the movement for same-sex marriage. However, it seems like these individuals are the only ones thus far.
Senator Portman changed his views on same-sex marriage because he loved his son, "it allowed me to think of this issue in a new perspective, and that's of a dad who loves his son a lot and wants him to have the same opportunities that his brother and sister would have- to have a relationship like Jane and I have had for over 26 years ." This same love might have driven senator Portman to change his stance on same-sex marriage, but for those such as Republican Congressman Matt Salmon of Arizona; it is a completely different thing. Congressman Salmon says that he loves his son, but he is not at the point where he has "evolved" enough to change his stance on same-sex marriage. The quotes given by Senator Portman as well as COngressman Matt Salmon can actually be found on the article done by the Daily Mail.
While it is great that the two Republican senators are showing their support for same-sex marriage, it is a little saddening to see that it took a near-death experience and a family member coming out; in order for the senators to change their views on same-sex marriage while they should have came upon this mindset of acceptance and open-mindedness in the first place. Although, it really is better late than never for these two senators, especially now with the addition of senator Kirk's support, the Senate seems to have the possibility of weighing in in the favor of same-sex marriage. With all the arguments against DOMA, it seems highly likely that same-sex couples will indeed receive the constitutional right to marry. The LA Times does a great coverage on the Mark Kirk event.
For more information on DOMA, the LA Times provides a cheat sheet for audiences to stay relevant on what is happening with the whole same-sex marriage ordeal.