Charlie Dent, a Republican congressman representing Pennsylvania's 15th House District, endorsed marriage equality yesterday in the Washington Post:
"Life is too short to have the force of government stand in the way of two adults whose pursuit of happiness includes marriage," Dent said in a statement provided first to The Washington Post on Wednesday.
Quoting from the Pennsylvania ruling, "in future generations the label same-sex marriage will be abandoned, to be replaced simply by marriage," Dent said that in "conversations with my family, I have come to realize that they already see the world through that lens."
Dent, a centrist lawmaker who gained national attention as one of the first Republicans to stand up to House leadership over the 2013 federal government shutdown, is an advocate for other gay rights, including workplace nondiscrimination and equal immigration benefits. He is running unopposed in a district, which includes Allentown, that was redrawn after the 2010 census to be a little more Republican, but is still fairly moderate.
"As a Republican, I value equality, personal freedom and a more limited role for government in our lives," Dent said in his statement. "I believe this philosophy should apply to the issue of marriage as well."
Rep. Dent joins just five other congressional Republicans in supporting the freedom to marry: U.S. Senators Rob Portman, Mark Kirk, and Lisa Murkowski, and Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Richard Hanna.
U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III struck down Pennsylvania's marriage discrimination amendment ten days ago.