9 Senate Democrats who announced their support for the freedom to marry this week

(UPDATED 4/2 to reflect Sen. Carper's support): In the past week, nine U.S. Senators have announced their support for the freedom to marry, explaining how their views have evolved and how they have come to understand that now is the time to stand on the Right Side of History. In total, 49 Senators have now voiced their support for marriage, including 45 Democrats, two Independents, and one Republican. Check out each of the statements from the Senators:

Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE)

"All Americans ultimately should be free to marry the people they love and intend to share their lives with, regardless of their sexual orientation, and that's why today, after a great deal of soul searching, I'm endorsing marriage equality."

Senator Carper posted his support on Facebook, where he added: "As our society has changed and evolved, so too has the public's opinion on gay marriage – and so has mine. I pray every day for God to grant me the wisdom to do what is right. Through my prayers and conversations with my family and countless friends and Delawareans, I've been reminded of the power of one of my core values: the Golden Rule. It calls on us to treat others as we want to be treated."

Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA)

"After much deliberation and after reviewing the legal, public policy and civil-rights questions presented, I support marriage equality for same-sex couples and believe that DOMA should be repealed."

Senator Casey continued, in a statement to Philadelphia Gay News, that part of his evolution stemmed from many conversations with LGBT Pennsylvanians and their families. He said: "These stories had a substantial impact on my position on this issue. If two people of the same sex fall in love and want to marry, why would our government stand in their way? At a time when many Americans lament a lack of commitment in our society between married men and women, why would we want less commitment and fewer strong marriages? If two people of the same sex want to raise children, why would our government prevent them from doing so, especially when so many children have only one parent or none at all?" 

Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC)

"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."

Kagan's full statement: "I know there are strong feelings on both sides, and I have a great deal of respect for their opinions. But after much thought and prayer on my part this is where I am today. I know all our families do not look alike. We all want the same thing for our families. We want happiness, we want health, prosperity, a bright future for our children and grandchildren."

Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA)

"I believe all people, regardless of sexual orientation, should be guaranteed the full rights to the legal benefits and responsibilities of marriage under the Constitution."

He issued the statement to The Times-Dispatch in Richmond, VA, to which he added, "I hope the Supreme Court will affirm that principle."

Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV)

"I'm against discrimination in all its forms, and I think we can move forward in our progress toward true equality by repealing DOMA."

Senator Rockefeller issued a statement on his support last week. He said: "Like so many of my generation, my views on allowing gay couples to marry have been challenged in recent years by a new, more open generation. Churches and ministers should never have to perform marriages that violate their religious beliefs, but the government shouldn't discriminate against people who want to marry just because of their gender ... Younger people in West Virginia and even my own children have grown up in a much more equal society and they rightly push us to question old assumptions - to think deeply about what it means for all Americans to be created equal. This has been a process for me, but at this point I think it's clear that DOMA is discriminatory."

Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT)

"I'm proud to support marriage equality because no one should be able to tell a Montanan or any American who they can love and who they can marry."

Sen. Tester announced support on Facebook, where he also said, "Montanans believe in the right to make a good life for their families. How they define a family should be their business and their business alone."

Sen. Mark Begich (D-AK)

"Gay and lesbian couples should not be denied the ability to pledge their love and commitment through the civil institution of marriage."

The Senator confirmed his support to Buzzfeed, to whom he added, "I believe that two committed adults of the same sex should be able to receive a government-issued marriage license, while religious institutions retain their right to determine which marriages they will perform."

Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA)

"I support marriage equality because it is the fair and right thing to do."

The Senator took to Facebook to announce his support for marriage. He explained: "Like many Virginians and Americans, my views on gay marriage have evolved, and this is the inevitable extension of my efforts to promote equality and opportunity for everyone. I was proud to be the first Virginia governor to extend anti-discrimination protections to LGBT state workers. In 2010, I supported an end to the military's ‘don't ask, don't tell' policy, and earlier this month I signed an amicus brief urging the repeal of DOMA. I believe we should continue working to expand equal rights and opportunities for all Americans."

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO)

"Supporting marriage equality for gay and lesbian couples is simply the right thing to do for our country, a country founded on the principals of liberty and equality."

Her statement, which she published on Tumblr, also said: "I have come to the conclusion that our government should not limit the right to marry based on who you love. While churches should never be required to conduct marriages outside of their religious beliefs, neither should the government tell people who they have a right to marry. ... My views on this subject have changed over time, but as many of my gay and lesbian friends, colleagues and staff embrace long term committed relationships, I find myself unable to look them in the eye without honestly confronting this uncomfortable inequality.