(AP) - Two freshman Democratic senators from conservative states, Joe
Donnelly of Indiana and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, have joined the
growing chorus of lawmakers who say they support gay marriage.
separate statements released minutes apart on Friday, the senators said
their views on the issue had evolved. They joined a rapidly growing list
of senators who support gay marriage and the list now includes 49
Democrats, two independents who caucus with Democrats and two Republicans.
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
said. I view the ability of anyone to marry as a logical extension of
said he reconsidered his opposition to gay marriage after recent Supreme
Court arguments and public discussion on the issue.
have been thinking about my past positions and votes, he said. In
doing so, I have concluded that the right thing to do is to support
marriage equality for all.
and Heitkamp are the latest Democratic senators to announce their support
for gay marriage. On Thursday, Florida Sen. Bill Nelson became the 51st
senator to announce support for gay marriage. Both Donnelly and Heitkamp
were elected in 2012, winning close races in states that were handily
carried by GOP Presidential nominee Mitt Romney.
are now only four Democrats in the Senate who have not expressed support
for gay marriage: Sens. Mark Pryor, of Arkansas, Mary Landrieu of
Louisiana, Tim Johnson of South Dakota, and Joe Manchin, of West Virginia.
Republican Senators, Mark Kirk of Illinois and Rob Portman of Ohio, have
announced their support for gay marriage.