Sen. Mark Warner Reverses Course, Supports Marriage Equality

“[M]y views on gay marriage have evolved, and this is the inevitable extension of my efforts to promote equality and opportunity for everyone,” he writes.

Cliff Owen / AP

WASHINGTON — On the eve of the Supreme Court’s argument’s on same-sex couples’ marriage rights, Virginia Sen. Mark Warner reversed his longstanding position and announced his support for marriage equality,

On Facebook, he wrote Monday afternoon, “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.”

As recently as March 1, after signing his name to the Supreme Court brief from members of Congress opposing the Defense of Marriage Act, Warner said in a statement he was “proud to lend [his] name to the amicus brief urging the Supreme Court to reverse this discriminatory law.” He added, “Marriage equality now receives growing bipartisan support, and DOMA repeal is supported by a significant number of leading U.S. businesses, who correctly believe that DOMA represents an impediment to economic competitiveness.”

A spokesman would not, however, state Warner’s position on marriage equality at the time, telling the National Journal, “It’s fair to say his thinking on that is evolving. I don’t have anything to add to the statement you just received.”

Detailing his record on the issue, Warner noted in Monday’s statement, “I was proud to be the first Virginia governor to extend anti-discrimination protections to LGBT state workers. 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. I believe we should continue working to expand equal rights and opportunities for all Americans.”

Warner did not support marriage equality during his last election; he had opposed Virginia’s marriage amendment, however, which was approved by voters in 2006. He is up for re-election in 2014.

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