Senator Kay Hagan says she now supports gay marriage.
As the Supreme Court hears arguments whether a U.S. law that denies federal benefits to married same-sex couples is constitutional or not, the North Carolina Democrat posted on her Facebook page that she now supports it.
"Marriage equality is a complex issue with strong feelings on both sides, and I have a great deal of respect for varying opinions on the issue. After much thought and prayer, I have come to my own personal conclusion that we shouldn't tell people who they can love or who they can marry," wrote Hagan.
While Hagan says she supports marriage freedom, the senator also says religious institutions should have the freedom to decide whether they should conduct same-sex marriages or not.
Hagan is one of a few Democratic U.S. senators who had not previously supported gay marriage.
Sen. Hagan Facebook Post
Marriage equality is a complex issue with strong feelings on both sides, and I have a great deal of respect for varying opinions on the issue. After much thought and prayer, I have come to my own personal conclusion that we shouldn't tell people who they can love or who they can marry.
This wasn't a decision I came to overnight, like my Republican colleague Rob Portman expressed recently on his own viewpoint. Last year, I opposed Amendment One because I was concerned about the negative consequences it could have on North Carolina families and our economy. The fabric of North Carolina and what makes our state so special is our families and our common desire for a brighter future for our children. No matter what your family looks like, we all want the same thing for our families - happiness, health, prosperity, a bright future for our children and grandchildren.
Religious institutions should have religious freedom on this issue. No church or minister should ever have to conduct a marriage that is inconsistent with their religious beliefs. But I think as a civil institution, this issue's time has come and we need to move forward. Jobs and the economy are the number one issue for me and for North Carolinians right now, and I'm not going to take my eye off that ball at a time when so many are still struggling.