Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA)

Nine Eight Senate Democrats remain non-supporters of marriage equality today, thanks to Bob Casey’s thoughtful announcement this morning:

“After much deliberation and after reviewing the legal, public policy and civil-rights questions presented, I support marriage equality for same-sex couples and believe that DOMA should be repealed,” Casey said in a statement exclusively first released to PGN Monday afternoon.

Senator Casey ascribes his change of views to personal contact with lesbian and gay couples, giving credence to Harvey Milk’s admonition to every one of us to Come Out:

Part of that process included considering feedback from LGBT Pennsylvanians and their families, Casey said.

“These stories had a substantial impact on my position on this issue,” the senator said. “If two people of the same sex fall in love and want to marry, why would our government stand in their way? At a time when many Americans lament a lack of commitment in our society between married men and women, why would we want less commitment and fewer strong marriages? If two people of the same sex want to raise children, why would our government prevent them from doing so, especially when so many children have only one parent or none at all?”

Casey referenced one lesbian woman from Southeastern Pennsylvania who contacted him, detailing the financial and societal setbacks she, her partner and their children have faced from being denied the right to marry.

“As a senator and as a citizen, I can no longer in good conscience take a position that denies her and her family the full measure of equality and respect,” Casey said.

It is encouraging to see former non-supporters of marriage equality begin to frame the opposition as denial of a right. Full equality and respect is something that Americans’ sense of fairness encourages them to support.

Remaining Senate Democrats, upon whom we await word, are listed here.