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Casey now supports marriage for gays

| Monday, April 1, 2013, 8:45 p.m.

HARRISBURG — Democratic U.S. Sen. Bob Casey announced on Monday that he favors gay marriage, the latest of several lawmakers to change positions on the issue before the Supreme Court.

Casey said he made the shift after reviewing the legal, public policy and civil rights questions involved and letters from Pennsylvania families.

“If two people of the same sex fall in love and want to marry, why would our government stand in the way?” Casey said. “At a time when many Americans lament a lack of commitment in our society between married men and women, why would we want less commitment and fewer strong marriages?”

In November, as Casey successfully sought a second term, he said he favored same-sex civil unions but did not take a position on same-sex marriage.

“Elected public officials have an abiding obligation to refrain from demonizing and dividing people for partisan or political gain,” Casey said.

Ted Martin, the executive director of Equality Pennsylvania, a political advocacy group for gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people, said his members logged about 10,000 calls to Casey in recent weeks to urge him to make such an announcement.

Michael Geer, the president of the Pennsylvania Family Institute, which opposes gay marriage, said Casey acted in response to pressure from special interests.

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