US: Two Democrats add to count of Senators in favour of equal marriage

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Two Democratic Senators have come out in support of same-sex marriage ahead of the Supreme Court’s hearings on the subject, following the precedent set by Claire McCaskill earlier this week.

On Monday the office of Alaskan Senator Mark Begich issued the statement: “Government should keep out of individuals’ personal lives — if someone wants to marry someone they love, they should be able to. Alaskans are fed up with government intrusion into our private lives, our daily business, and in the way we manage our resources and economy.

The same day Mark Warner, Senator for Virginia, said in a statement: “I support marriage equality because it is the fair and right thing to do. Like many Virginians and Americans, my views on gay marriage have evolved, and this is the inevitable extension of my efforts to promote equality and opportunity for everyone.

“I was proud to be the first Virginia governor to extend antidiscrimination protections to LGBT state workers,” he added. “In 2010, I supported an end to the military’s ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy, and earlier this month I signed an amicus brief urging the repeal of DOMA [the Defense of Marriage Act. I believe we should continue working to expand equal rights and opportunities for all Americans.”

Missouri Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill already came out in support for marriage equality earlier on Monday, via a Tumblr post.

According to TIME there are now 11 Senate Democrats who have not endorsed same-sex marriage, and three of those have outright opposed it.

Aside from the Democrats to have come out as pro-equality, Republican Senator Rob Portman announced that he  endorsed same-sex marriage on 15 March.

The announcement was particularly surprising as Mr Portman had been one of the original sponsors of DOMA. He said the coming out of his gay son had prompted him to rethink his views.

The announcements have been made in advance of the Supreme Court hearings on marriage equality, which will begin later today with arguments on Proposition 8 and continue tomorrow on DOMA.