Friday, April 5, 2013

And then there were four: Sen. Landrieu among Senate Democrats opposing same-sex marriage

Posted By Google on Fri, Apr 5, 2013 at 4:55 PM

U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu
  • U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu

Last month, U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu addressed her position on same sex marriage as the U.S Supreme Court began hearing oral arguments on the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act. U.S. Senate Democrats had only a handful of marriage equality opponents — Landrieu among them. Today, Indiana's Joe Donnelly and North Dakota's Heidi Heitkamp came forward in support.

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

"After speaking with North Dakotans from every corner of our great state, and much personal reflection, 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 wrote. "The makeup of families is changing, but the importance of family is enduring."

Landrieu has not outright opposed the concept — she even has acknowledged the "progression" of public opinion and its influence. Last month, Landrieu told Buzzfeed that she feels "very strongly that people should be allowed to love who they love," but added, "unfortunately my state has a very strong ban against gay marriage constitutionally."

She told Politico, "We'll have to see what the Supreme Court says about gay marriage. ... And I just think that people's views about it are changing quite rapidly [to] a more progressive position. I'm just going to continue to talk to the people of my state."

Today, Landrieu told CNN that "people should love who they love and marry who they want to marry" but she stands by the people of Louisiana — 78 percent of voters supported a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage in 2004. "My state has a very strong constitutional amendment not only against gay marriage but against gay partnerships. So I'm looking at the people of Louisiana trying to represent their interests."

The remaining Senate Democrats opposing marriage equality include West Virginia's Joe Manchin, Arkansas' Mark Pryor, and South Dakota's Tim Johnson.

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