Just 4 Senate Democrats Don't Support Marriage Equality

The marriage equality bandwagon is filling up fast with Senate Democrats (and even two Republicans). But a few holdouts remain.

BY Lucas Grindley

April 06 2013 10:00 AM ET

Sen. Mary Landrieu, Louisiana
The latest answer from Landrieu, given to CNN on Friday, sends a conflicting message about where she stands. But it's clear if given a chance to vote on marriage equality, she'd be a no.  "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 told CNN, saying that her personal view is that "people should love who they love and marry who they want to marry." That's essentially the same answer she gave last month to the local Times Picayune. And it could remain the answer she gives while campaigning for reelection in 2014.

Sen. Joe Manchin, West Virginia
Manchin is best remembered as the senator who shot a gun in a campaign ad to show voters how different he is from your typical Democrat. `And he made clear this week that no matter what everyone else does, he's not changing his mind on marriage equality. "I believe that a marriage is a union between one man and one woman," Manchin said in a statement to Talking Points Memo on Tuesday. "My beliefs are guided by my faith, and I support the Defense of Marriage Act." Manchin has a full term ahead of him, having just been reelected in 2012.

Sen. Mark Pryor, Arkansas
Pryor is up for reelection in 2014 in a state not considered favorable for Democrats. His spokesman recently told a local newspaper that Pryor believed homosexuality is a choice and opposed marriage equality because of a "moral belief." Then on Friday Pryor did a television interview with local KFSM and announced he's "undecided" on marriage equality. "I would put me down in the undecided category," he said. Pryor said he's met with "some friends of mine in the gay and lesbian community" and they discussed his answer to whether homosexuality is a choice. "I told them, I said, 'Honestly I’ve never really thought a lot about that.' Maybe a lot of people think about that. I haven’t spent a lot of time thinking about that. But one of the things I hear from them is they feel very strongly that it’s not a choice for them, and I respect that. I’m not going to dispute that." On whether same-sex couples deserve equal benefits from the federal government, which is what would happen is part of the Defense of Marriage Act is struck down, he said "I haven’t really analyzed this in terms of benefits and what that does for the federal budget."

Sen. Tim Johnson, South Dakota
Johnson announced in late March that he's retiring from the Senate in 2014.  In theory, that might give a politician freedom to take a position at odds with South Dakota's conservative voters. But, on the same day, Johnson's office reiterated his opposition to marriage equality to the Huffington Post. "He has not changed his position on marriage equality," a spokesman said.

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