Two More Democratic Senators Voice Support for Gay Marriage

Friday, 05 Apr 2013 04:12 PM

By Courtney Coren

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Two more Democratic senators came out in support of same-sex marriage on Friday, leaving four remaining Democrats in the Senate who have yet to offer their support.

Sen. Joe Donnelly of Indiana and Sen. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota both issued statements today explaining the change in their positions on this issue. Only Sens. Mark Pryor of Arkansas, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, and Tim Johnson of South Dakota remain.

In the statement Donnelly posted on his Facebook page, he cites the Supreme Court cases that were heard last month that challenge the Defense of Marriage Act and California’s Proposition 8 as motivation for the change in his position.

“With the recent Supreme Court arguments and accompanying public discussion of same-sex marriage, I have been thinking about my past positions and votes,” Donnelly explained. “In doing so, I have concluded that the right thing to do is support marriage equality for all.”

Heitkamp’s statement, which appeared on her Senate website cites listening to “North Dakotans” and “personal reflection” as the reasons for her position change.

“I have concluded the federal government should no longer discriminate against people who want to make lifelong, loving commitments to each other or interfere in personal, private, and intimate relationships,” Heitkamp said.

Donnelly and Heitkamp’s statements come the day after Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida became the 51st senator to support same-sex marriage.

Several Democrats and two Republicans have voiced support for same-sex marriage recently. These changes come in response to the skepticism expressed by the justices during the hearing last month and in anticipation of the decision that is expected to be announced in June.


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