Jewish backing for same sex marriage is nearly unanimous among Jewish members of Congress. All 12 senators and 21 of 22 represenatives are supporters. The lone holdout is the only Jewish Republican in the 113th Congress, Rep. Eric Cantor of Virginia.
Republicans have been so slow to express their support that when one does come out it national makes headlines. That’s what happened Tuesday when the second senator, Republican, Mark Kirk of Illinois, declared support of same sex marriage. Last month Rob Portman of Ohio got extensive national media attention when he became the first just as the Supreme Court was about to take up the issue. He said he was largely influenced by the fact that his son is gay.
Only two House Republicans make the list: Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida and Richard Hanna of New York. Ros-Lehtinen’s transgender daughter is an outspoken LBGT activist.
Republicans have launched a multi-million-dollar campaign to change their image among minority voters. It was motivated by seeing more than 70 percent of Hispanics vote Democrat last year along with 70 percent of Jews and 95 percent of African Americans. The party – predominantly white Christian men — is also trying to shed its image of homophobia but judging by the paucity of those endorsing same sex marriage, it isn’t not making much progress.
The numbers keep changing but here’s the latest sampling of supporters for gay marriage, according to a tally by Wikipedia.
Senate: 46 Democrats, 2 Independents, 2 Republicans.
House of Representatives: 171 Democrats, 2 Republicans
Kirk, who recently returned to the Senate after suffering a stroke, said, “When I climbed the Capitol steps in January, I promised myself that I would return to the Senate with an open mind and greater respect for others. Same-sex couples should have the right to civil marriage. Our time on this Earth is limited, I know that better than most. Life comes down to who you love and who loves you back — government has no place in the middle.”