Indiana Senator Joe Donnelly Friday publicly announced his support of same-sex marriage, saying he changed his position in light of recent Supreme Court arguments and public discussion. The Democratic U.S. Senator’s support could influence the issue in the Statehouse.
In a statement released on his Facebook page, Senator Joe Donnelly said he opposes amending both the Indiana and U.S. constitutions to ban same-sex marriage, much as a proposed amendment to Indiana’s constitution would do if passed a second time by the General Assembly and then by voters.
Wally Paynter is the president of the Tri-State Alliance, an Evansville-based lesbian, bisexual, gay and transgender support organization. He said Donnelly’s support of same-sex marriage could help boost the cause in the General Assembly.
“I think he’s giving cover for other moderate Democrats and moderate Republicans to come out in favor of equality and in favor of same-sex marriage,” said Paynter.
But American Family Association of Indiana executive director Micah Clark said Donnelly’s support won’t change the minds of Hoosiers.
“There are many Democrats, particularly in Indiana and southern Indiana, who still understand that marriage is between a man and a woman. So I think the issue could backfire because Donnelly’s position will be a wedge between he and the moderate base,” said Clark.
If the General Assembly passes the marriage amendment next session, it will go on the ballot in fall of 2014.