Republican U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk of Illinois is joining other prominent conservatives in publicly supporting same-sex marriage. The politician made the startling announcement on his blog Tuesday, the Associated Press reports.

It appeared under the heading, “Statement From Senator Kirk on Same-Sex Marriage.”

In addition to affirming that gay couples should have the right to civil marriage, Kirk also invoked a conservative argument in framing his assertion. “Government has no place in the middle,” he wrote of the institution of marriage.

Sen. Mark Kirk Endorses Gay Marriage | Republican

FILE – In this Dec. 18, 2012 file photo, Republican U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk of Illinois speaks about his recovery from a major stroke a year ago at his home in Highland Park, Ill. In a post on his blog Tuesday, April 2, 2013, Kirk said that he supports same-sex marriage. Credit: AP 

Here’s the senator’s full segment:

When I climbed the Capitol steps in January, I promised myself that I would return to the Senate with an open mind and greater respect for others.

Same-sex couples should have the right to civil marriage. Our time on this Earth is limited, I know that better than most.  Life comes down to who you love and who loves you back– government has no place in the middle.

Kirk previously voted to end the policy barring gays from openly serving in the military, known as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” He’s a lead co-sponsor of a bill to ban employment discrimination based on sexual orientation, and has opposed a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage.

Kirk is Illinois’ ranking Republican lawmaker. His announcement comes one day after TheBlaze reported former Republican National Committee (RNS) Chairman Ed Gillespie’s prediction that the GOP platform won’t ever overtly endorse gay marriage.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.