WASHINGTON, D.C. - A dramatic change of direction for U.S. Senator Bob Casey. He now supports gay marriage.
He's a socially-conservative Democrat and he was one nine Democrats in the Senate who didn't support gay marriage, until Monday.
His decision is drawing mixed reviews here in our area.
The senator says after reading several letters from people in the state he made the decision.
In his statement Casey said, "If two people of the same sex fall in love and want to marry, why would our government stand in their way?"
The news that U.S. senator Bob Casey supports gay marriage is good for some.
"I'm very much in favor of gay marriage and I commend him and support him for supporting it," said Kathy Weil, a Bethlehem resident.
For others the news is not good.
"Well my opinion is based on a higher source," said Dottie William, also from Bethlehem. "I read the Bible."
Casey originally came out in support of civil unions but didn't support gay marriage.
In a written statement released by the United States senator he says, "As part of my consideration of these issues, I read letters written to me by LGBT Pennsylvanians and their families."
"It doesn't make a difference to me," said Brian Mansfield. "I think if it is two committed people, then they should have the right to get married just as anyone else would have that right."
The announcement comes days after the United States Supreme court heard arguments on banning or allowing gay marriage on a federal level.
The issue is still one that divides the people of the Commonwealth.
"God is the one who judges in the end, but the Bible says a man and a woman are the ones that get married," said Williams.
Some say the decision will help Casey gain votes when he runs for re-election.
Others say he'll lose votes.
The senator wrote the decision is not about votes.
"Democrats and Republicans should come together and find areas of agreement to do what's best for the country, including lesbian and gay Americans," said Casey.
"I think it's about time people support happiness regardless of where it comes from," added Stacey Foldes.
Casey also says he believes the Defense of Marriage act should be repealed, but no legislation has been introduce in the Senate.
Allentown, PA 18102