Tom Adams, a Democrat who is challenging incumbent Republican Rep. Mick Mulvaney for his seat in South Carolina’s 5th Congressional District, announced yesterday that he believes gay people “are equal before the Lord and should be equal before the law as well.”

It’s not exactly a radical view for a Democrat to hold, except that this is South Carolina. One of the state’s most prominent Democrats, gubernatorial candidate and S.C. Sen. Vincent Sheheen, has been courting the gay vote — speaking, for example, at last year’s S.C. Pride Festival in Columbia — despite the fact that he opposes same-sex marriage. Recently, when a 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling brought gay marriage one step closer in South Carolina, a campaign manager told the media that Sheheen would “monitor the court’s proceedings as the process continues to move forward.

Adams’ opponent in the District 5 race, Mulvaney, was a co-sponsor of South Carolina’s 2007 gay marriage ban while he was a representative in the S.C. House.

Here is Adams’ full statement:

The morning of August 13, I was asked on my Facebook page by an associate pastor of the church I am a member of about my position on marriage equality. Here is my response: Those who know me well know that I am one of six children. Two of the six of us are gay. Both are married. Nora Adams and Michael Adams. As such, Susie and I had to confront this issue in prayer before the Lord many years ago, long before it was even making news. We talked and prayed through it and felt the Lord lead us to a place of love and acceptance of my gay siblings. We felt clear direction from the Lord to show his love to them just as we did to each of our other siblings, we did so, and I continue to do so. We taught our children to do the same. They are equal before the Lord and should be equal before the law as well. I think Dick Cheney said it best: “Freedom means freedom for everyone.”

This journey I have been on for the last five months has taken me far and wide from Fort Mill and First Baptist Church. I have met hundreds of sincere Christian folks in my travels. Many are African Americans, some are gay. I came to the realization that Christians aren’t just the folks gathered up in the walls of evangelical churches on Sunday. My eyes are open wider now, and I am just as sure that these folks I’ve met along the way are washed in the same blood of Christ that you and I are. My exposure to the diversity of the 5th Congressional District and the body of Christ has changed me in a profound way. I am a better man and Christ follower for it. Thank you for asking the question.

District 5 includes Kershaw, Lee, Sumter, Fairfield, Newberry, Union, Chester, Lancaster,York, Cherokee, and Union counties.