May 12, 2014 at 3:17 pm EDT | by Chris Johnson
Transportation secretary latest to endorse same-sex marriage
Anthony Foxx, United States Department of Transportation, Barack Obama Administration, gay news, Washington Blade

Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced on Monday he supports same-sex marriage (Photo public domain).

Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx broke his long silence on the issue of same-sex marriage on Monday when he unequivocally said during a surprise appearance at a White House news briefing he backs marriage rights for gay couples.

Previously a mayor of Charlotte, N.C., Foxx announced without hesitation he supports same-sex marriage in response to a question from the Washington Blade on whether he backs it and thinks it should come to North Carolina.

“I support same-sex marriage,” Foxx said. “Who someone loves should never be an issue at work, or any place else. As the mayor, I was the first mayor to even go meet with the LGBT community. I was, unlike my predecessors, someone who went out, and then went to the annual Human Rights Campaign dinner and signed a letter. I did a lot things, but this is a place where I think the country’s attitudes are shifting and I think North Carolina got it wrong. I hope they get it right.”

As previously reported by gay North Carolina-based journalist Matt Comer, Foxx had never articulated a position on same-sex marriage either during his time as mayor or up to and beyond his confirmation as transportation secretary in June 2013.

Although he opposed Amendment One, the constitutional ban on same-sex marriage approved by North Carolina voters in 2012, his views on same-sex marriage were unknown and his office refused to provide comment — even when the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments on the Defense of Marriage Act and California’s Proposition 8.

Foxx endorses same-sex marriage on the eve of oral arguments before the U.S. Fourth Circuit of Appeals in the case of Bostic v. Schaefer, which will determine the constitutionality of Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriage. Although the decision in that court would be limited to Virginia, a ruling against the ban could have an impact on North Carolina in subsequent court decisions because both states are in the same circuit.

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson attends the daily White House press briefings and is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

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