Illinois Republican Senator Mark Kirk has released a statement in support of equal marriage.
Kirk, whose record on LGBT issues has been mixed, posted a statement on his website, voicing support for equal civil marriage.
"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," Kirk wrote. "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."
Kirk is the second Republican Senator to back equal marriage in recent days. Kirk's statement comes just days after Republican Sen. Rob Portman made headlines for backing equal marriage, after Portman's son came out as gay.
A spokesperson for Kirk said she could not say what led up to Kirk's decision to release the statement.
Kirk's comments come in the midst of a push to pass equal marriage legislation in Illinois. The Illinois House of Representatives could vote to legalize same-sex marriage as soon as next week.
LGBT leaders praised Kirk's stance.
"We continue to see the momentum behind marriage equality grow, especially among Republicans." said Rick Garcia, policy director for The Civil Rights Agenda, in a statement. "The momentum is stunning and we welcome it."