The U.S. Supreme Court began hearing arguments last week on the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act, which prevents same-sex married couples from receiving the same federal benefits accorded straight married couples. The case, United States vs. Windsor, argues that the act's definition of marriage as a "legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife" is unconstitutional.
Last month, several U.S. senators changed their positions on same-sex marriage, including Ohio's Rob Portman, a Republican. Only nine Democratic senators have not voiced support for same-sex marriage — among them Louisiana's Mary Landrieu. Landrieu has not outright opposed the concept, and she has acknowledged the "progression" of public opinion.
"I feel very strongly that people should be allowed to love who they love, but unfortunately my state has a very strong ban against gay marriage constitutionally," she told BuzzFeed last month. Last week, 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."
In 2006, she suggested leaving marriage to the states: "While I strongly support the definition of marriage as a sacred union between one man and one woman, the Constitution has given authority over these matters to state legislatures, not to Congress. The people of Louisiana have enacted a clear definition of marriage as a union between one man and one woman. Our state's constitutional amendment has already been upheld by the courts. So long as this is true, I believe amending the federal Constitution would be premature and unwise. So long as there is no federal court interference with Louisiana's Constitution, we should leave marriage to the states, as our founders intended." — Alex Woodward