The domino effect of Democrat senators supporting gay marriage continued, as two more red-state Democratic senators, Joe Donnelly of Indiana and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota both announced that they now approve of full marriage equality.
The domino effect of Democrat senators supporting gay marriage continued, as two more red-state Democratic senators, Joe Donnelly of Indiana and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota both announced that they now approve of full marriage equality. Both senators are new to the office, riding the Democrat wave of 2012, and both cited traditional values in evolving to a more progressive stance. Heitkamp cited the importance of families and the old conversations with people around the state thing:
"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."
Donnelly hit similar notes in his statement:
"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."
Attention now turns to the last Democratic holdouts: Mark Pryor (Ark.), Mary Landrieu (La.), Tim Johnson (S.D.) and Joe Manchin (W.Va.). Pryor and Landrieu face tough reelection battles in 2014, and coming out for gay marriage could be dicey for them in their red states. Johnson is retiring rather than face a tough fight in 2014, but there is a movement to draft his son to run to replace him. Manchin, like Donnely and Heitkamp, will be in office at least until 2018. At the rate things are going, being against marriage equality may seem like a fringe position at that point.
While conservative Democrats are in a tough spot politically on this one, Republicans are in a tougher one. It will be very difficult for a pro-marriage equality candidate to win the 2016 Republican presidential nominating contest, but by 2016, being against gay marriage may feel like an outdated stance from a previous time to a majority of Americans.
And watch out, because marijuana legalization is next!