And then there were three: Tim Johnson backs same-sex marriage
April 8th, 2013
02:20 PM ET
1 year ago

And then there were three: Tim Johnson backs same-sex marriage

(CNN) – Sen. Tim Johnson, D-South Dakota, on Monday joined the wave of senators from his party who are endorsing same-sex marriage for the first time.

The third-term senator, who's not seeking re-election next year, said in a statement his "views have evolved sufficiently to support marriage equality legislation."

"This position doesn't require any religious denomination to alter any of its tenets; it simply forbids government from discrimination regarding who can marry whom," he said.

With his announcement, that leaves three Senate Democrats who have yet to come out in support for gay and lesbian couples to have the legal right to marry. All three come from conservative-leaning states. They include Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Sen. Mark Pryor of Arkansas, and Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia.

Both Pryor and Landrieu are up for re-election next year, while Manchin's term ends in 2018.

Landrieu told CNN National Political Correspondent Jim Acosta in an interview Friday that she personally believes "people should love who they love and marry who they want to marry," but that her obligation rests with the people of Louisiana who elected her.

"My state has a very strong constitutional amendment not only against gay marriage but against gay partnerships. So I'm looking at the people of Louisiana trying to represent their interests," she said.

Two Republicans have announced support for same-sex marriage: Rob Portman of Ohio and Mark Kirk of Illinois. Meanwhile, Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski recently said her views on the issue are "evolving."

The Supreme Court heard oral arguments last month in two cases on the issue, including a challenge to the federal Defense of Marriage Act that defines marriage as between a man and a woman. During that week, it was reported that Johnson reversed his position on DOMA, but he did not come out in full support of same-sex marriage at the time.

– CNN's Steve Brusk, Ashley Killough and Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.


Filed under: Gay rights • Senate • Tim Johnson
soundoff (90 Responses)
  1. Scott Kehoe

    Shame on you Senator Landrieu! I'm ashamed to say I voted for you at this moment!

    April 8, 2013 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  2. Murderfish

    Meanwhile, Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski recently said her views on the issue are "evolving."

    I thought republicans where not forbbiden to use the word "evolve". She is going to get in trouble with her party.

    April 8, 2013 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  3. shineonstyle

    TO JOE:
    I have to respond to Joe's assertion. The logic is so skewed that it's almost pointless to even engage in a discussion, but I will try. Legally, supporting gay marriage need not take into account any feelings involved or move to a "feeling based definition." A marriage from a legal perspective is a contract between two consenting adults that carries certain benefits and responsibilities. The gender of the parties involved should have no affect on those rights or obligations. The whole argument concerning incest and polygamy is simply too ignorant to even warrant serious consideration. I enjoy eating oranges, oranges are spherical, therefore I must enjoy eating bowling balls. Joe, you have eaten too many bowling balls. Try actually thinking for yourself instead of spewing some nonsense you've been told. If your argument is based on your own thought process then there might not be much hope for you.

    April 8, 2013 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  4. KeninTexas

    Just proves the point that politicians will sell their souls for votes.

    April 8, 2013 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  5. Scott Kehoe

    You are on the wrong side of history on some important issue Senator Landrieu! Your silence on marriage equality, sensible gun control, and immigration reform is deafening to those that have supported you in the past! Please stand up to special interest groups and support these issues!

    April 8, 2013 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  6. Quit Crying

    Just proves the point that politicians will sell their souls for votes.

    April 8, 2013 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  7. KellyGofAL

    So entertaining to watch the cracks in the conservative wall grow and hear the attacks and extrapolations and hyperbole from the right wing gramophone.

    April 8, 2013 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  8. Samuel

    Ah, the politicians are now pandering to obtain the voters–all for political advantage. Too bad. That's why our country and our economy is in such bad shape. Every move is for the political advantage. No one has a sense of personal values anymore.

    April 8, 2013 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  9. omeany

    I don't understand why in a country where there is supposed to be a separation of church and state this is even an issue. Granting gay and lesbians the same rights as married couples will not infringe on straight married couples. If you have a conviction that gay marriage is wrong...then DON'T DO IT!

    April 8, 2013 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  10. coolusername

    Sick is sick, it's not subject to political correctness or whims. The way I look at it, the acceptance of being gay is now becoming a part of the culture. It's not really a matter of right or wrong (it's wrong), it's a matter of habituation, or conditioning. The gays have been at it for some 70 years, and it's working. It's been front and center for so long that we are now becoming accepting of it. And the younger you are and the longer you have been exposed to the gays in your face since the day you were born, the more OK you are with it. It's no surprise that the younger generation is much more tolerant of the GLBT bull than the old guys.

    April 8, 2013 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  11. coolusername

    Sick is sick, it's not subject to political correctness or whims.

    April 8, 2013 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  12. just sayin

    The third-term senator, who's not seeking re-election next year, said in a statement his "views have evolved sufficiently to support marriage equality legislation."
    -------–

    yeah, what courage for this cowardly lion.... would he have done it if he was running for offcie again? of course not. another democrat sock in the wind. blowing which ever way the money comes from.

    April 8, 2013 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  13. Screamin Eagle

    rkvillehunter57@yahoo.com

    lets see, margaret thatcher died, north korea is about to start a nuclear war, the economy only created 88,000 jobs last month – and CNN top story is gay marriage? can you say obsessed? who cares

    It's all related..the downfall of America and the death of people that once stood for something..I can see the pattern.

    April 8, 2013 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  14. Sniffit

    "Eve came from Adam's ribs"

    Eve came from the pen of a storyteller.

    April 8, 2013 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  15. SteamingPileOfPolitician

    Any thought that these people give a hoot who or what you are is delusional. They wouldn't give you the time of day unless they needed to.

    April 8, 2013 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
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