WDEL Exclusive: Carper weighs in on gay marriage decision

By Amy Cherry 3:56pm, April 4, 2013 - Updated 12:54pm, April 5, 2013
WDEL's Amy Cherry talks with Sen. Carper first and exclusively about his difficult decision to support same-sex marriage.
Senator Tom Carper, one of the latest Democratic Senators to announce his support for same-sex marriage, talks with WDEL first about his decision.

WDEL's Amy Cherry has more in this exclusive report.

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Senator Carper tells WDEL, exclusively, he came to the decision to support gay marriage through a lot of prayer.

"I put myself in the shoes of a person, who was gay or a lesbian, and said, 'How would I want to be treated?'" Carper asked himself.

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Carper says he didn't grow up in a generation that supported same-sex marriage.

"Homosexuality was viewed as a sin, and that was sort of like the way I was brought up. I spent 23 years of my life after that as a naval flight officer. In the Navy, in the military, homosexuals were banned."

That ban has since been lifted.

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Carper admits, he used to think being homosexual was a choice, and at some point in his military career, that thinking changed.

"I've concluded that if you really believe that our sexual preference is a choice, largely preordained by our maker, and you believe in the 'Golden Rule' to treat others the way we want to be treated," he says.

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Carper says it was months of soul-searching and seeing society change that brought him to go public with his decision.

"If I were gay or lesbian, not by my choice, but just the way that God made me, would I want to be able to have a committed life with, a person, maybe, of the same sex? Would I want to be able to have a family and have a relationship that lasted for the rest of my life? I probably would," Carper says.

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He calls supporting same-sex marriage "the right thing to do" though he knew some of his constituents wouldn't like it.

"I've come to this decision. It was not easy. I wrestled with this one for months. I think I made the right decision, I hope so," says Carper.

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Carper, secure in his third term, tells WDEL that security played no role in his decision to support same-sex marriage.

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