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For First Time, Working Majority in U.S. Senate Now Supports Marriage Equality


With Senator Mark Kirk's (R-IL) recent statement, there are now 50 U.S. Senators (48 Democrats and two Republicans) who support marriage equality and 50 who have not yet evolved.

As Josh Israel at Think Progress notes, "with Vice President Joe Biden the tie-breaker, this marks the first time that a majority in the U.S. Senate has endorsed same-sex marriage."

Democrat holdouts are: Joe Donnelly (D-IN), Tim Johnson (D-SD), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Bill Nelson (D-FL), and Mark Pryor, (D-AR).

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  1. This is a very big deal, but it will only matter if action is taken on DOMA and other LGBT issues. With that being said, this is a testament to the fact that LGBT-rights and acceptance is becoming, has become, the new normal!

    Posted by: Francis | Apr 2, 2013 12:45:11 PM

  2. They need 60 (filibuster proof) -- just a simple majority won't help. Any action on DOMA will be subject to Republican leadership filibustering.

    Posted by: unruly | Apr 2, 2013 12:53:50 PM

  3. Recent history would not suggest this, but the Senate is known as the more collegial chamber of the two. I have to wonder if the presence of Tammy Baldwin within this august "club" has contributed to the rapid shift of positions.

    We should thank her, regardless. As was discussed on here recently (by way of MSNBC): we need more out politicians, who advance our cause for equality.

    Posted by: Lars | Apr 2, 2013 1:01:01 PM

  4. This is great! Now both senators from my state support equality!

    Posted by: | Apr 2, 2013 2:03:55 PM

  5. One man with courage makes a majority. ~Andrew Jackson

    Posted by: Bo | Apr 2, 2013 2:04:22 PM

  6. I get the focus on the Democratic holdouts, and think they should be pushed to embrace equality, but shouldn't there be just as much (if not more) focus on the dozens of Republican senators who are arguably a much bigger impediment to progress than Landrieu, Nelson, et al?

    Posted by: MJH | Apr 2, 2013 2:05:36 PM

  7. i think Tom Carper has also not come out in support yet, although it's widely believed he will. Murkowski has suggested she will in the future, and in sure Susan Collins will as well.

    Posted by: Bruno | Apr 2, 2013 2:12:09 PM

  8. Alas, it doesn't matter if the Senate has 50 votes for equality or 60 votes. As long as the GOP controls the House nothing will change. I sincerely hope that I'm wrong about this, but I fear that come January 2015 the GOP will likely retake the Senate as well. The 2014 Senate election is looking like an uphill climb for the Democrats to even hope to maintain a Senate majority.

    Posted by: Jonty Coppersmith | Apr 2, 2013 2:13:49 PM

  9. Oops missed Carper...boy this is happening fast.

    Posted by: Bruno | Apr 2, 2013 2:15:15 PM

  10. I just wrote Bill Nelson, one of my senators, to ask if he'll be climbing aboard the equality bus anytime soon. I'll post his reply if/when I receive it.

    Posted by: Douglas | Apr 2, 2013 2:52:06 PM

  11. It would be foolish to pressure Mary Landrieu or Mark Pryor. They represent states where the overwhelming majority of the population still oppose same-sex marriage and doing so right now would probably be politically fatal for them.

    Both went out on a limb to vote for DADT repeal, so you can rest assured that they are on our side privately.....but just cannot do so publicly right now.

    Posted by: Rick | Apr 2, 2013 3:39:24 PM

  12. First of all, the Senate (and House) have nothing to do with "legalizing" same-sex marriage. But they can, and should, repeal DOMA.

    Correct, Jonty.... unfortunately, it looks like Republicans will re-take the Senate, and it seems like we're helping them at times! If Landrieu and Pryor publicly come out in favor of same-sex marriage, they will be gone, making Republican take-over more likely. But then if you read comments on this blog from those who are all over Landrieu and Pryor, these commenters can't see the forest for the trees: apparently they are less troubled by the likelihood of a Republican Senate than they are by silence from Landrieu, Pryor and a few others. Of course, when a Republican Senate prevents a Democratic President from choosing a more liberal Supreme Court Justice (when a vacancy offers), these same commenters can blame themselves (along with others).

    Finally, back to DOMA, there are probably 60 Senate votes to repeal it (at least Section 3). Counting the 50 pro- same-sex marriage Senators, several "states' rights" Republicans like Collins, Ayotte, McCain, Murkowski, etc may bring it up to 60 votes. If the Senate includes DOMA repeal in some must-pass legislation, the House will have to go-along to pass that must-pass legislation unless the Senate backs down (see Don't Ask-Don't Tell repeal, somewhat analogous - not exact).

    Of course, unless the Supreme Court strikes down DOMA in June ......... but then if it doesn't, and if the Senate becomes Republican, we'll be screwed under DOMA for another 10 years at least.

    Posted by: MiddleoftheRoader | Apr 2, 2013 3:47:42 PM

  13. @middle DADT repeal was a stand alone bill.

    Also, don't underestimate GOP primary voters' ability to choose horrible general election candidates. 2014 will be rough, but a GOP controlled Senate isn't inevitable.

    Posted by: searunner | Apr 2, 2013 7:57:14 PM

  14. @middle DADT repeal was a stand alone bill.

    Also, don't underestimate GOP primary voters' ability to choose horrible general election candidates. 2014 will be rough, but a GOP controlled Senate isn't inevitable.

    Posted by: searunner | Apr 2, 2013 7:57:16 PM

  15. Whatever Mr Obama and the progressives want to acomplish, they need to do so before the 2014 elections. History indicates that the party of sitting presidents lose seats in the off year elections. Also the numbers don't bode well for the dems. The democrats must defend 21 seats, the republicans only need to defend 12 or 13 seats. Some of the dems running for re-election are running in red states like: Louisiana, Arkansas, Alaska, Montana and North Carolina. It is possible/probable that the Republicans can gain a Senate majority in the 2014 elections. Horrors!!!

    Posted by: andrew | Apr 2, 2013 8:05:51 PM

  16. Just remember if the SCOTUS acts cowardly we won't have that long to wait before 3 will be replaced. Red States will be purple by 2014 because Blacks and Latinos got a boost from re-electing Obama. We will vote to get dumb whites out of the way.

    Posted by: DC Arnold | Apr 3, 2013 1:11:27 PM

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