Democratic House Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) is adding his voice to the growing chorus of lawmakers endorsing marriage equality following President Obama’s historic declaration that gay and lesbian couples should have the freedom to marry. “I have believed that the phrase ‘civil union’ was an appropriate definition of a relationship that is both different and the same between two people of the same sex. And I have believed strongly that such couples must be treated equally under the law,” he says:
Because I believe that equal treatment is a central tenet of our nation, I believe that extending the definition of marriage to committed relationships between two people, irrespective of their sex, is the right thing to do and will not, in any way, undermine the institution of marriage so important to our society nor impose a threat to any individual marriage. It will, however, extend the respect due to every one of our fellow citizens that we would want for ourselves and our children.
Since Obama announced his support on Wednesday, Sens. Jack Reed (D-RI) and Harry Reid (D-NV) have also backed the LGBT community and the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee announced that it will take up the Employment Nondiscrimination Act (ENDA) on June 12.