Congressman Charlie Dent (R-Lehigh) expressed his belief that same-sex couples should be allowed the opportunity to marry in Pennsylvania in a statement released to Colby Itkowitz of the Washington Post.
Despite vacillating on the issue in recent years, Dent congratulated gay and lesbian couples in Pennsylvania after Judge John E. Jones III ruled against PA’s same-sex marriage ban last Tuesday.
“As a Republican, I value equality, personal freedom and a more limited role for government in our lives. I believe this philosophy should apply to the issue of marriage as well,” Dent stated. “Life is too short to have the force of government stand in the way of two adults whose pursuit of happiness includes marriage.”
Though Congressman Dent voted in support of Pennsylvania’s Defense of Marriage Act in 1996, he commented that since then, “times have changed, and perspectives have evolved.” He said he made the decision after consulting his family.
Dent is running unopposed in the 15th district, which includes Lehigh County and parts of Berks County, Dauphin County, Lebanon County, and Northampton County this November.
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida was the first GOP member of Congress to publicly support same-sex marriage and Richard Hanna (R-N.Y.) was the second according to the Post. In the Senate, Republicans Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Mark Kirk (R-Ill), and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), have also voiced their support.
Dent is no stranger to Itkowitz of the Washington Post. She previously covered Congress for Dent’s hometown newspaper the Allentown Morning Call.