A huge move for a politican in my state who has been reticent to step up on LGBT rights. Thank you for finally kicking your ally closet door open, Senator Hagan. From her Facebook page:

Marriage equality is a complex issue with strong feelings on both sides, and I have a great deal of respect for varying opinions on the issue. After much thought and prayer, I have come to my own personal conclusion that we shouldn’t tell people who they can love or who they can marry.

This wasn’t a decision I came to overnight, like my Republican colleague Rob Portman expressed recently on his own viewpoint. Last year, I opposed Amendment One because I was concerned about the negative consequences it could have on North Carolina families and our economy. The fabric of North Carolina and what makes our state so special is our families and our common desire for a brighter future for our children. No matter what your family looks like, we all want the same thing for our families – happiness, health, prosperity, a bright future for our children and grandchildren.

Religious institutions should have religious freedom on this issue. No church or minister should ever have to conduct a marriage that is inconsistent with their religious beliefs. But I think as a civil institution, this issue’s time has come and we need to move forward. Jobs and the economy are the number one issue for me and for North Carolinians right now, and I’m not going to take my eye off that ball at a time when so many are still struggling.

Hagan was one of the Democratic holdouts — she made the 10 of Shame on the Huff Post cover last night. That was a quick “evolution,” huh? Well, it is truly better late than never. This is what she said to the Raleigh N&O‘s Rob Christensen:

“I know there are strong feelings on both sides, and I have a great deal of respect for their opinions,” Hagan said in an interview. “But after much thought and prayer on my part this is where I am today.

“I know all our families do not look alike,” she added. “We all want the same thing for our families. We want happiness, we want health, prosperity, a bright future for our children and grandchildren. After conversations I’ve had with family members, with people I go to church with and with North Carolinians from all walks of life, I’ve come to my own personal conclusion that we should not tell people who they can love, or who they can marry. It’s time to move forward with this issue.”

As I said last night, she has been behind on LGBT issues as long as I can remember, not even agreeing to take questions from LGBT media during her run in 2008. When Richard Burr ran for re-election in 2010, all of the Democratic candidates were willing to speak with blogs (see my liveblog with Elaine Marshall, for instance) and the media about their prospective positions on LGBT issues including placing position statements on their web site. Hagan can’t run again without LGBT rights being an issue to confront. [Burr only won re-election because of the teabagger avalanche in 2010 when too many progressive and moderate voters sat home and let the wingers take office.]