Virginia Sen. Mark Warner (D) announced Monday afternoon on his Facebook page that he is now a supporter of marriage equality, joining several other senators who are expressing a change in attitude toward the recognition of same-sex nuptials.
"I support marriage equality because it is the fair and right thing to do," Warner wrote on his Facebook page. "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."
Warner, who signed an amicus brief earlier this month urging the Supreme Court to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), a federal law prohibiting the recognition of same-sex relationships, also touted his other pro-LGBT positions, such as support for ending the military’s "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell" policy and his signing of an executive order that extended anti-discrimination protections in employment to LGBT state workers during his term as governor, from 2002 to 2006. Within an hour after posting, his statement had received more than 700 "likes" from fellow Facebook users.
Warner now joins Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) and Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) as the most recent members of the upper chamber to announce support marriage equality. Counting those three, 44 members of the U.S. Senate are on record as supporting marriage equality.
[Editor's note: See Kaine-related correction below.]
Warner is also the only statewide elected official in the commonwealth to come out in support of marriage equality. Gov. Bob McDonnell, Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling and Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, all Republicans, are opposed to same-sex marriage. Sen. Tim Kaine (D) has not come out in support of marriage, but said in a debate against George Allen, the former GOP senator and governor, in September that he supported "legal equality" for same-sex couples, but left open whether that could be achieved by allowing marriage, civil unions or some form of domestic partnership.
[CORRECTION: Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) on Thursday, March 21, stated support for marriage equality, as reported by the Richmond Times-Dispatch March 25. Kaine's office released this statement from the senator to Metro Weekly March 26: "I believe all people, regardless of sexual orientation, should be guaranteed the full rights to the legal benefits and responsibilities of marriage under the Constitution. I hope the Supreme Court will affirm that principle.”]
[Photo: Sen. Mark Warner (courtesy of Warner's official Senate website)]