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Social Issues Wed Apr 03 2013
Sen. Mark Kirk joins the ranks of other Republican elected officials who have announced their support for same-sex marriage. His stance was the opposite during his 2010 Illinois senate race citing religious reasons.
He states, "Same-sex couples should have the right to a 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."
He is the fourth Republican congressman to split from his party's adamant stance on gay marriage along with Rep. Richard Hanna (R-NY) Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) and Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH).
His unexpected stroke last year has truly humbled him and made him more open-minded to the demands of American citizens. I applaud Kirk for being bold in his party; however, the quote, "the government has no place in the middle," makes me think of other places the government has no place: a woman's body.
Maybe Republicans have learned to keep their nose out of civilian's private life and re-shifted the focus on problems that are crippling this country. Restrictions on birth control and abortion are limiting decades of hard-fought women's rights. I am not promoting abortion but it's a deeply personal choice that should not involve the government.
Birth control is now seen as a tool of abortion when in reality its simply prevents conception. In a state where elected officials and citizens complain about the number of government assistance programs such as Medicaid and food stamps to single mothers and low-income families, birth control should be encouraged. Why argue against contraceptives when you disapprove of government assistance to provide for children born in less than ideal situations?
According to NARAL Pro-Choice, Illinois has a ban that prevents abortion after 12 weeks, which is incredibly lenient in comparison to most red states. Luckily, in Illinois we have a plethora of options for birth control with the pink card and women-oriented health care clinics that offer assistance to youth and low-income females.
Women -- young and old -- deserve control over their body; whether it is abortion or birth control. The issue of abortion will always be a sensitive topic in America with the diverse belief system. Additionally, male lawmakers should not make critical decisions for situations when they cannot empathize with the female. Nothing in America is black and white. Each woman has their own story: she may be in a dark corner, misguided, raped or simply feels helpless. We cannot become so quick to judge when we cannot identify with their circumstances. Revoking their rights and publicly disgracing them makes their choice more complicated.
If Sen. Kirk honestly feels the "government has no place in the middle," it has no place in the middle between a woman and her body, either. I hope he continues his bipartisan work and convinces his fellow colleagues to promote, not oppress, women's rights.