Sens. Joe Donnelly, Heidi Heitkamp Support Marriage Equality

Jim Burroway

April 5th, 2013

Here’s Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-IN)’s statement supporting “marriage equality for all“:

In recent years, our country has been involved in an important discussion on the issue of marriage equality. While serving in the House of Representatives, I had the opportunity to act on a core belief of mine: we are a stronger country when we draw on the strengths of all Americans. I voted to repeal ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ and was an original supporter of the bill that would make it illegal to discriminate against someone in the workplace because of their sexual orientation. It is also for that reason that I oppose amending either Indiana’s or our nation’s constitution to enshrine in those documents an ‘us’ and a ‘them,’ instead of a ‘we.’ 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.”

At about the same time as Donnelley’s statement came out — within minutes of each other, according to news reports — Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) also released a statement which, in a somewhat less direct way, comes around to supporting marriage equality:

In 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.  I view the ability of anyone to marry as a logical extension of this belief. The makeup of families is changing, but the importance of family is enduring.

Sens. Donnelly and Heitkamp join fellow Democratic Sens. Claire McCaskill (MO),  Mark Warner (VA), Mark Begich (AK), Jay Rockefeller (WV), Jon Tester (MT), Kay Hagen (NC), Bob Casey(PA), Tom Carper (DE), and Bill Nelson (FL)  in shifting to the right side of history over the past two weeks. This leaves only four Democratic holdouts in the Senate: Tim Johnson (SD), Mary Landrieu (LA), Joe Manchin (WV), and Mark Pryor (AR). The avalanche of new support for marriage equality in the Senate began on March 15 when Sen. Rob Portman(R-OH) became the first sitting Republican Senator to announce his support for marriage equality. On Tuesday, Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL) joined his fellow Republican in making the switch. At this point, I am seriously, seriously wondering what on earth is keeping Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) from making a similar announcement.



April 5th, 2013

I can’t believe there are people who actually think that all these senators (Democratic and Republican) changed their minds exactly when they said they did (or changed their minds at all), or for the exact reasons that they claimed. It just seems so…naive? Or biased – wanting to make political reality fit a narrative?

Timothy Kincaid

April 5th, 2013

I too have been wondering about Collins. Her latest statement says everything but “yes, i support equality”. Lisa Murkowski is also a possibility

Lindoro Almaviva

April 5th, 2013

I absolutely agree, it is self serving, but the avalanche is there and they have realized that this is no longer about their “principles” but about political survival. Either way, because of a change of heart, because of cynicism, or just because they are being bullied by their families,friends, or colleagues, the hard fact is that they now see they will not be able to survive if they do not embrace diversity.

I will meet their cinicism with my own dose of it, i am willing to take either scenario.


April 5th, 2013

Paradigm shift.

I’m sure there’s an element of opportunism here — these are U.S. senators, after all, and their prime focus is staying in the Senate. I’m also sure they are able to read polls as well as anyone. It’s even possible that some of them were paying attention to the arguments before the Supreme Court and thought that maybe, just maybe, they should rethink their positions, since Cooper and Clement looked like they were scrabbling around desperately for something to hang on to.

And maybe even one or two of them are honest enough to realize that they were wrong.

At any rate, they’re on record now. That’s fine by me.

Leave A Comment

All comments reflect the opinions of commenters only. They are not necessarily those of anyone associated with Box Turtle Bulletin. Comments are subject to our Comments Policy.

(Required, never shared)

PLEASE NOTE: All comments are subject to our Comments Policy.


Latest Posts


Another Temporary Hiatus

Today's Agenda Is Brought To You By...

Today In History, 1971: Minnesota Couple Stake Claim To First American Same-Sex Marriage

Today's Agenda Is Brought To You By...

Today In History, 1954: "Perverts Vanish" From Miami

Born On This Day, 1907: Evelyn Hooker

Born On This Day, 1925: Fr. John J. McNeill

Featured Reports

What Are Little Boys Made Of?

In this original BTB Investigation, we unveil the tragic story of Kirk Murphy, a four-year-old boy who was treated for “cross-gender disturbance” in 1970 by a young grad student by the name of George Rekers. This story is a stark reminder that there are severe and damaging consequences when therapists try to ensure that boys will be boys.

Slouching Towards Kampala: Uganda’s Deadly Embrace of Hate

When we first reported on three American anti-gay activists traveling to Kampala for a three-day conference, we had no idea that it would be the first report of a long string of events leading to a proposal to institute the death penalty for LGBT people. But that is exactly what happened. In this report, we review our collection of more than 500 posts to tell the story of one nation’s embrace of hatred toward gay people. This report will be updated continuously as events continue to unfold. Check here for the latest updates.

Paul Cameron’s World

In 2005, the Southern Poverty Law Center wrote that “[Paul] Cameron’s ‘science’ echoes Nazi Germany.” What the SPLC didn”t know was Cameron doesn’t just “echo” Nazi Germany. He quoted extensively from one of the Final Solution’s architects. This puts his fascination with quarantines, mandatory tattoos, and extermination being a “plausible idea” in a whole new and deeply disturbing light.

From the Inside: Focus on the Family’s “Love Won Out”

On February 10, I attended an all-day “Love Won Out” ex-gay conference in Phoenix, put on by Focus on the Family and Exodus International. In this series of reports, I talk about what I learned there: the people who go to these conferences, the things that they hear, and what this all means for them, their families and for the rest of us.

Prologue: Why I Went To “Love Won Out”
Part 1: What’s Love Got To Do With It?
Part 2: Parents Struggle With “No Exceptions”
Part 3: A Whole New Dialect
Part 4: It Depends On How The Meaning of the Word "Change" Changes
Part 5: A Candid Explanation For "Change"

The Heterosexual Agenda: Exposing The Myths

At last, the truth can now be told.

Using the same research methods employed by most anti-gay political pressure groups, we examine the statistics and the case studies that dispel many of the myths about heterosexuality. Download your copy today!

And don‘t miss our companion report, How To Write An Anti-Gay Tract In Fifteen Easy Steps.

Testing The Premise: Are Gays A Threat To Our Children?

Anti-gay activists often charge that gay men and women pose a threat to children. In this report, we explore the supposed connection between homosexuality and child sexual abuse, the conclusions reached by the most knowledgeable professionals in the field, and how anti-gay activists continue to ignore their findings. This has tremendous consequences, not just for gay men and women, but more importantly for the safety of all our children.

Straight From The Source: What the “Dutch Study” Really Says About Gay Couples

Anti-gay activists often cite the “Dutch Study” to claim that gay unions last only about 1½ years and that the these men have an average of eight additional partners per year outside of their steady relationship. In this report, we will take you step by step into the study to see whether the claims are true.

The FRC’s Briefs Are Showing

Tony Perkins’ Family Research Council submitted an Amicus Brief to the Maryland Court of Appeals as that court prepared to consider the issue of gay marriage. We examine just one small section of that brief to reveal the junk science and fraudulent claims of the Family “Research” Council.

Daniel Fetty Doesn’t Count

Daniel FettyThe FBI’s annual Hate Crime Statistics aren’t as complete as they ought to be, and their report for 2004 was no exception. In fact, their most recent report has quite a few glaring holes. Holes big enough for Daniel Fetty to fall through.