RALEIGH, N.C. — U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan of North Carolina, one of the few Democratic senators who had not previously come out in support of same-sex marriage, said Wednesday that she now supports marriage equality for gay and lesbian couples.
“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. “But after much thought and prayer on my part this is where I am today.
“I know all our families do not look alike,” she added. “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.”
Hagan’s announcement comes with much political risk; she faces a tough re-election campaign next year in a culturally conservative state.
Less than one year ago, North Carolina voters approved a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage by a 61-39 percent margin.