And then there were three: Tim Johnson backs same-sex marriage
April 8th, 2013
02:20 PM ET
5 years 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 (89 Responses)

    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

    April 8, 2013 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  2. Seriously, Joe?

    @Joe: How do you make that logical leap to incest and polygamy? No one's saying change the math to 'n can be greater than or equal to 2,' they're just saying the genders of the 2 can be the same. And incest is already covered. You're just creating a strawman that says "If we approve of X, it automatically leads to Y." Well, it doesn't. So please don't be stupid.

    April 8, 2013 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  3. David

    Democrats are emotionally driven mature people, we can expect this.

    April 8, 2013 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  4. Peach

    another one caves into the liberal agenda......

    April 8, 2013 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  5. jonnyg

    Least important decision facing our nation

    April 8, 2013 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  6. JayNYC

    @ Joe – do you actually believe what you wrote or did you just copy and paste something you read from your church?

    April 8, 2013 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  7. Ccampa

    I don't have a problems with plural marriages as long as it is between conseting adults.. However do not compare gay marriage to bestiality please. Be smarter about your argument. Comparing people to animals just reflects ignorance and stupidity.

    April 8, 2013 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  8. Andrew

    They don't actually care about gay marriage; they are only doing this in the hopes of winning reelection.

    April 8, 2013 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  9. Anonymous

    Its ok.

    April 8, 2013 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  10. reggieJ

    Joe said it, so I won't have to...

    In order to support gay marriage, you are re-defining the meaning of marriage between 2 adults who love and care for one another. This would be a feeling based definition. In doing so, you will also have to suppoert incest and Polygamy. After all if we are moving to a feeling based definition, you would be desciminating from 2 borthers, 2 sisters or a sitera and brother who love one another and want Govenment perks of being married. You would also have to support if a man or woman loves multiple people. There is a moral reason why Marriage is defined as between one man and one women. Otherwise do away with marriage all together and let free will be the new standard.

    April 8, 2013 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |

    April 8, 2013 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  11. SCBAMA

    These representatives should not back down. It is not what the people they represent in believe. They represent the people in their states....not in wacky Cali or NY.

    April 8, 2013 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  12. t3chn0ph0b3

    Hey, politicians! 80% of people under 30 can't all be wrong. You can either get with equality or have fun being a dinosaur in 10 years. You pick.

    April 8, 2013 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  13. SJL

    Why are people being spiteful (on the LGBT side)? LGBTs try an convince people that gay marriage is an equal right and then look down on legislators when they are convinced.

    April 8, 2013 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  14. Hillcrester

    The writing is in the wall. The SSM movement is gaining momentum among the public, and many legislators are sure to follow. Because the Southern states dominate in the GOP, it will unfortunately require Court decisions to assure marriage equality spreads throughout the US. The overturn and/or repeal of DOMA will most likely precede that.

    April 8, 2013 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  15. MediaAdvocacy

    Another pandering politician tries to surf on a wave that has already broken way in front of him. Thanks to CNN, more aptly named "LGBTNN", for their refusal to give any other news story 1/100th of the coverage that they give to the fraud of same-gender marriage. LGBTNN's slanted "reporting" (i.e. advocacy) on this matter is the worst pattern and practice of the steadfast violation of journalistic ethics I know of, including how they lied down for the Iraq War machine. If you want real news, you must go elsewhere, and I don't mean the Faux-Noise Channel (FOX News Channe) either – they are even wose violators.

    April 8, 2013 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  16. Junior

    Joe, I'm glad you came out from under your rock. This doesn't open up support to incest and/or polygamy. The states could/will still not allow family members to get married. Secondly, as far as polygamy is concerned, unions between 2 people are different than between more than 2. With 2 people there's still an equal partnership under the law. When you have a 3rd (or more) spouse then the rights are balanced anymore. You could have multiply parties coerce the other which would be frowned upon during legal contractural disputes.

    However, this assumes you believe in equal partnership in marriage unions. I guess you could be one of those cavemen that believe the woman has no rights and the man is the king of the castle. So, if you're one of these people then forget what I said because you're brain is probably the size of a tomato seed and you couldn't grasp the concept of equal.

    April 8, 2013 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  17. frank

    another Dem idiot.....that does not know what marriage means! civil unions ok...but this is absurd

    April 8, 2013 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  18. mojo

    " but that her obligation rests with the people of Louisiana who elected her." .......She also has an obligation to her country to do what's right.

    April 8, 2013 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  19. watash60

    democrats do anything for a block of votes – nothing else matters

    April 8, 2013 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  20. Norm

    People are going to think they're gay if they support it.

    April 8, 2013 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  21. Sniffit

    "This would be a feeling based definition. "

    Definition: a private contract between two consenting adults, setting forth their obligations and responsibilities to one another as spouses.

    Where's the "feeling" in that definition?

    Grow. Up.

    April 8, 2013 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  22. jjb1313

    Holy Bully CNN!!! either you support this or we will call you out specifically.... not saying i agree or dont... doesnt really matter either way, but poor form...

    April 8, 2013 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  23. James

    That's why no one wants to look at creating a bill or look at the possibility of the "MENTAL HEALTH" system because this is a perfect example of people that have mental health issues. Hello people Adam and Eve... Eve came from Adam's ribs. Man and woman.

    April 8, 2013 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  24. Wes

    I agree. Every adult son should be allowed to marry his biological father.

    April 8, 2013 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  25. eviltaxpayer

    Still have record debt, record food stamps and record gas prices, but hey, lets follow the media led distraction of the day to avoid the media messiahs abysmal record.

    April 8, 2013 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
1 2 3 4