An Unlikely Politician Just Put the Battle Over Same-Sex Marriage in Perspective

The news: Rep. Charlie Dent (R-Pa.) has officially joined the ranks of a handful of GOP members of Congress who have changed their position to support marriage equality. His reason for the switch: "Life is too short to have the force of government stand in the way of two adults whose pursuit of happiness includes marriage," the Pennsylvania congressman said in a statement provided to the Washington Post. 

Dent explained that after speaking with his family, he came to sympathize with their belief that the term "same-sex marriage" will eventually be relinquished, to be replaced simply by the term "marriage." 

"As a Republican," Dent said in his statement, "I value equality, personal freedom and a more limited role for government in our lives. I believe this philosophy should apply to the issue of marriage as well." He predicts that in 20 years down the line, people will look back and question "what all the fuss was about."

GOP flip-flopping: A Pennsylvania District Court Judge reversed the ban on same-sex marriage just a little over a week ago, making it the 19th state to declare the ban unconstitutional. In general, marriage equality is gaining more bipartisan support, no longer seen as the Democrat vs. Republican barricade it once was. 

Rep. Richard Hanna (R-N.Y.), Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) have all publicly swapped their stances of being against same-sex marriage to being in favor of it. 

A Washington Post-ABC poll found that 59% of Americans support same-sex marriage, setting a record high of approval ratings. And it looks like U.S. politicians are taking note of the growing consensus and actually representing that majority. 


Image Credit: Pew Research Center

More states in the U.S. ban same-sex marriage than permit it. Though, after the 2013 Supreme Court decision to end DOMA, federal judges are successively overturning that ban. The marriage equality movement is spreading like wildfire and with more and more GOP politicians voicing their support, the future is looking less inauspicious than it did in 2000.  


Image Credit: Mother Jones Source: Human Rights Campaign

Dent is not necessarily the first Republican to change his opinion on same-sex marriage. Yet, it is hard to ignore his choice words on the matter. Because life really is too short, and there is little time to waste.

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Jenna Kagel

Jenna Kagel covers global and national social injustices. She also focuses on political dysfunction, the intersection of money and policy, and the US criminal justice system.

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