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Posts for April, 2013

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.