Delaware's Carper joins shift, backs same-sex marriage

WASHINGTON -- Count another Senate Democrat as a new supporter of same-sex marriage.

Delaware’s Tom Carper today became the latest Democrat who once opposed same-sex marriage to change his views on the rapidly shifting social issue, announcing his new stand on Facebook.

There are now only seven Senate Democrats – and none from the Philadelphia region – who have not endorsed same-sex marriage. Carper’s comments came one day after Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey and Delaware Congressman John Carney, both Catholic Democrats, announced they had changed their views to support allowing gay and lesbian couples to wed.

Writing on Facebook, Carper said he applied “the Golden Rule.”

“It calls on us to treat others as we want to be treated. That means, to me, that all Americans ultimately should be free to marry the people they love and intend to share their lives with, regardless of their sexual orientation, and that's why today, after a great deal of soul searching, I'm endorsing marriage equality.”

Democrats – including locals such as New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez, Rep. Rob Andrews, and Vice President Joe Biden – overwhelmingly backed the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996 barring same-sex marriage. But the change in public attitudes since then has been dramatic and support for same-sex marriage is now a core piece of Democrats’ political appeal, especially to young voters.

The question now seems to be who will hold out, because among Democrats, the tide has shifted dramatically and decisively.