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 (89 Responses)
  1. Sniffit

    There were 3 in the bed and the little one said "roll over, roll over," so they all rolled over and one fell out....there were 2 in the bed and the little one said.....

    He's no less of a coward than Snowe or any of the rest of the johnny-come-lately panderers who spent their political careers obstructing what was right because it was expedient to their narrow self interests.

    April 8, 2013 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  2. Nate

    What a shocker! LOL. Anything to put this on the front page.

    April 8, 2013 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  3. fastrack

    I applaud Landrieu for representing the people who put her in office. Now, if others, elected to represent the WILL OF THE PEOPLE, would set their personal agendas aside and vote THE WILL OF THE PEOPLE who elected them, maybe Washington would get a few things done.

    April 8, 2013 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  4. Pico

    Man, I don't care which party you hail from, if you look down your nose, and over the rim of your glasses like the person pictured above, you're looking for trouble. Do it to the wrong person and you just might get called on it.

    April 8, 2013 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  5. FesterNScab

    May I remind everybody that veterans should be taken care of before we give handouts to illegal immigrants! Who cares about the gays? Seriously. Let them do what they do, leave them alone. Let's get our priorities straight. CNN get your act together and stop pushing worthless agendas through your propaganda machine.

    April 8, 2013 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  6. FesterNScab

    May I remind everybody that veterans should be taken care of before we give handouts to illegal immigrants!!! Who cares about the gays? Seriously. Let them do what they do, leave them alone. Let's get our priorities straight. CNN get your act together and stop pushing worthless agendas through your propaganda machine.

    April 8, 2013 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  7. BigJohn2

    I would like to see all Congressmen and Senators for a change – stand up for what is right instead of votes and lining your pockets. This whole issue is not about discrimination. It's a life style. This country was founded one nation under GOD and a Christian nation. It's a life style being forced upon the American people who stand against it, but your votes have fogged your heads. It's in the Bible – read it. If you continue – what's next? Marriage to your sister or your dog or some other animal. Then stand up and claim discriminaton and equality?

    April 8, 2013 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  8. Visara

    Ridiculous...liberals are ruining this once-great country.

    April 8, 2013 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  9. ben

    lol @ only 3 people

    April 8, 2013 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  10. Paul

    Anyway I can apologize to the rest of the country for my state being so backwards? Gay people down here are still scared of being lynched.

    April 8, 2013 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  11. PJ

    Next hurricane comes through LA. – let 'em drown. Who needs 'em?

    April 8, 2013 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  12. Yeager

    where does polygamy fit into this picture? Since redefining marriage is all the rage these days, what are we to tell those people with legitimate desires for the pursuit of multi-partnered marriage? How can we deny them their civil rights? Their right to pursue happiness? I mean, who are we couples to force our version of marriage down other peoples throats.

    April 8, 2013 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  13. Jim

    Idiotically enough, I have CNN as my homepage on the web. I think it's because years ago CNN used to be a serious news channel. I don't look at the FOX News website much, nor CBS or NBC. I think NBC is way, way too left-wing (No, I'm not a Republican), but I'll go to any news website if something is interesting. Well, I KNOW that CNN is very left-wing. A couple years ago, CNN changed the layout of their website and made the main part of the homepage all about sill crap and social issues (yes, I know they're important). The real news, they now have as a much smaller part, on the left side of the website. Now I see they're pushing, pushing, pushing the agenda of "gay rights" for guys to marry guys, etc. Today, this is their main news. So, I checked CBS, NBC, FOX. Maggie Thatcher is the main headline except for FOX, which has a headline about new laser equipment on Navy ships. Yet here's CNN, gay this, gay that. I'm SO sick of them pushing their agenda. What a garbage news agency...well, sorta news.

    April 8, 2013 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  14. Pete

    Hmm somebody wants an agenda passed.............. God Bless!

    April 8, 2013 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  15. CaesarXIII

    Can we just give the gays marriage rights already so we can move onto important issues like the survival of the country. Gay marriage isn't going to save America from the brink of financial collapse.

    April 8, 2013 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  16. John

    Separation of church and state. Your religious views don't mean a thing. Just because your religion is against something doesn't mean the laws should follow that belief.

    And to the people saying "if you let two men, or two women marry each other why not let brothers and sisters marry?" Well, there is a scientific reason why this is not allowed. A same-gender marriage will not result in deformed children. Brothers and sisters are genetically too close to each other to birth viable children. While I personally feel it's too close of a relationship; science says that 3rd cousin is the line in which you avoid genetic defects; and in almost every state this is the legal standard (except Kentucky which allows 2nd cousins to marry).

    April 8, 2013 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  17. Keyser

    Legislation should be inclusive...not exclusive. Remember the 'melting pot' that American so famously likes to flaunt to the rest of the world. Wel Gay people are people. So let's include them in the misery of marriage also.

    April 8, 2013 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  18. Miguel

    Stick a fork in it. The Kennedy Democrat Party is gone...

    April 8, 2013 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  19. Carl, Secaucus, NJ

    What Landrieu is saying is interesting, that personally she doesn't have a problem with it but the voters of her state do. She's saying that it's not a moral issue for her, whereas many politicians opposed to gay marriage say it's also a moral issue. In reality, I wonder how many anti-gay marriage politicians really care all that much personally whether gays get married or not...they just care about winning re-election, like Landrieu.

    April 8, 2013 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  20. billy blanks

    My favorite part of the article is the part where they try to vilify these people for not supporting gay marriage................thanks CNN for your unslanted/unbiased commentary.

    April 8, 2013 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  21. sally-ann

    Democrats in congress are great, aren't they.

    April 8, 2013 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  22. Freedom isn't free

    This one is for JOHN.... No surprise? WV and Arkansas just started wearing shoes? People like you are bad for America. So many negative people like you that feed off being an idiot!!!!! Learn to respect other states and your country. We are at a time where everyone should be focused on being united.

    You sound like you know everything.. so why not run for senate one day!!! You're probably another one that just sits at home on a pc and never moves. That's technology at it's best, another thing that is spoiling this generation and nation.

    And the grand finale... the worst thing hurting this country is............ egotistical people and politicans.

    April 8, 2013 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  23. John C.

    This debate has gone on for a lot longer than it should. I beleive marriage is about love. Period.
    With that being said...I am really getting tired of all the comments being thrown about by fellow supports.
    Why do you attack so harshly. You are wanting rights (there are many facets to this) and you are adminishing others for expressing their right. Not the way to get things accomplished.

    This country was founded on freedom. One of the biggestest freedoms was the freedom of religion. People who want to deny the equal right of others based on religious teachings are perfectly right to do so. They should not be slammed daily because of their beliefs. That makes you (condesending acctivist) the oppresssor. No one should be made to feel ashamed for their beliefs.
    I am a Christian. I believe in Chirst our savior. I beleive in his teachings. All of them...not just those that are convient. The one teaching that stands out above all other is that God is a loving forgiving God. All this hate will rot you from the inside. Your trip to hell will not be because of who you loved, but because of those you hated.

    April 8, 2013 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  24. Booger

    The Supreme Court heard oral arguments last month

    April 8, 2013 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  25. 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 |
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