Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC), another red-state Democrat up for re-election in 2014, announced her support for marriage equality on Wednesday.
“I know there are strong feelings on both sides, and I have a great deal of respect for their opinions,” Hagan said in an interview with the News & Observer. “But after much thought and prayer on my part this is where I am today.”
She added: “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. 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. It’s time to move forward with this issue.”
North Carolina voters approved a state constitutional amendment less than a year ago last May banning same-sex marriage and civil unions. About 61 percent supported the measure, making Hagan’s reversal on the issue even more remarkable. A Public Policy Polling survey conducted in early March found Hagan with a 42% approval rating and a 39% disapproval rating.
Democratic Sens. Jon Tester (MT), Mark Begich (AK), Claire McCaskill (MO), Mark Warner (VA) and Jay Rockefeller (WV) also backed gay marriage this week, which marks two high-profile Supreme Court cases on the issue — California’s Proposition 8 and the Defense Of Marriage Act of 1996.
There are now just nine remaining Democratic senators who have not yet publicly stated whether they support same-sex marriage. The list includes Mark Pryor (AK), Bob Casey (PA), Bill Nelson (FL), Tom Carper (DE), Tim Johnson (SD), Joe Manchin (WV), Mary Landrieu (LA), Heidi Heitkamp (ND) and Joe Donnelly (IN).