Senator Mark Pryor (D-AR) on Marriage Equality: ‘Put Me Down in the Undecided Category’


Senator Mark Pryor (D-AR), one of three senate Democrats who have not made their positions clear on marriage equality told Arkansas station KFSM 5News reporter Larry Henry today:

“I would put me down in the undecided category."

The statement was tweeted by Henry as part of an interview Pryor did with the network today.

Two other senate Dems, Tim Johnson (D-SD), and Joe Manchin (D-WV) are the last remaining to take a position.


  1. Fahd says

    At this point, I say better an undecided democrat than a hostile republican.

    Losing the Senate democratic majority in 2014 is a real possibility, and things will not be good for anyone except the 1% of which I am not a member if the Republicans take over the entire Congress.

    I am sure that politicians like him will embrace the inevitable in due time.

  2. Francis #1 says

    I don’t even care anymore who comes out and makes a statement for equality. I’d like them all too, but I want to see action at this point, and I want to see what these politicians do going forward in terms of publicly backing our community. These announcements have become entirely too forced and obviously politically-done and not done out of the goodness of these politicians’ heart, even if they truly are pro-equality.

  3. Nick says

    How can a senator sleep at night if they are undecided on an equal rights issue?

    How is this even a difficult decision? Giving same sex couples the same rights as heterosexual couples does not hurt anyone. Denying same sex couples equal rights is terribly damaging.

  4. Mary says

    I understand how Francis feels. A lot of these recent “conversions” must be politically-motivated. But then when it comes to winning that doesn’t matter so much – a vote is a vote whether its based on a heart-felt belief or just one’s political self-interest.

    But there are people who are truly confused about what the right thing is to do regarding gay marriage, and even gay rights in general. I know because I was one of them – still am, in a way. I’d been against gay marriage for years and only lukewarm about gay rights in general. But last year I reached the conclusion that the only way to oppose gay marriage logically was to oppose the whole gay rights cause in general. In other words, with maybe a few exceptions, going back to pre-Stonewall America. And I just couldn’t do it. Not after Jon Rauch, not after Towleroad, and not after doing extensive reading about and conversing with many people in the gay world. I can’t be Anita Bryant the Second – just can’t. Will future historians record that people like me made the right decision in switching from conservative to liberal on this issue? Only time will tell.

  5. Kevin says

    He’s up for reelection in Arkansas and could very well lose.
    I get where we all want them to come out for marriage equality but the cold hard truth is that in the BIble Belt,this IS a losing issue.
    Democrats might not come out for mid terms but the religious right most certainly will.

  6. HillBilly says

    Pryor has decided not to run for Senate re-election: he has his sights set on the Governor’s chair. And in Arkansas, even Democrats have to be pro-gun, pro-life (AND pro-death penalty) and anti-gay to get elected. For example, Arkansas’ State legislature just passed a non-binding resolution to publicly support DOMA.

  7. MiddleoftheRoader says

    Fahd and Kevin have it right – it’s essentially a no-win situation. Pryor will lose any Senate re-election for sure if he openly supports same-sex marriage.
    And what does that mean? Another Republican in the Senate.
    And what does that mean? Probably Republican control of the Senate.
    And what does that mean? Probably that Obama won’t be able to appoint a pro- marriage equality Supreme Court Justice if an opening occurs because a Republican Senate will never allow that appointment to be approved.

    For people who can look a little long-term, and who care about the Senate and Supreme Court, we shouldn’t expect Pryor or Landrieu to publicly support marriage equality — unless we want to pave the way for Republican control of the Senate and the Supreme Court. And really, with over half the Senate already publicly supporting marriage equality, what difference would Pryor and Landrie (or Manchin) make? We need Republicans like Murkowski, Collins — even possible (but much less likely) Ayotte & Burr; or if Cindy McCain can twist her husband’s arm, maybe even McCain (again, not likely).

  8. andrew says

    If Landrew, Manchin and Pryor publicly endorse gay marriage you can be certain of one thing: After the 2014 elections the Republicans will control the Senate and the entire progressive agenda will be on hold for quite a few years. The purists pressuring them to do so would rather be pure than in power. To refresh the memories of those who want all the dems in the Senate to publicly support gay marriage: Obama lost Louisiana by 17%, lost Arkansas by 24%, lost West Virginia by 27%.

  9. ConmertWager says

    I think this is a human rights issue, not a political issue. There’s millions of gay families out there…raising millions of children. Why should they be denied equal access to an institution by the same government that takes LOADS off tax money from them? It makes no sense, and the democrat party needs to continue being in the drivers seat of leading this HUMAN RIGHTS issue.

  10. Icebloo says

    Hopefully voters in his constituency will choose to be in the “undecided” category at the next election. I thought we had seen the last of the weak, spineless Democrats but obviously not.

    What a shi5head !

  11. andrew says

    @Icebloo: Once again you show that you know little about the political realities. Pres Obama, in the last election, lost Arkansas by 24% of the vote. If Senator Pryor, who 90% of the time votes for the progressive agenda in the Senate, takes a public stand in favor of gay marriage he will lose his Senate seat to some wingnut Republican who will vote AGAINST the progressive agenda about 100% of the time. Is that your goal?

  12. TX Brian says

    I absolutely resent gay rights being framed as a political partisan issue. I agree with the other commentator that these politicians need to stop playing political football with the lives of gay people, and their rights. This whole idea of leaders not leading on civil rights issues, and waiting for their constituents (in Mississippi, or South Carolina or Alabama) to come along is my idea of failed leadership. We’ll be waiting till 2050 for a majority of Mississippi residents to embrace gay marriage. And yes, I have lived in Mississippi…and yes, 2050 is being optimistic. Hence the reason it be nice if elected leaders grasped why it’s important to lead on this issue.

  13. Julio says

    I’m willing to give the fence sitting democrats in vulnerable states a second chance, but only till 2014. I’m sick of the LGBT community being told to wait our turn while we’re kicked to the side. We have DEMOCRATS who are NOT in jeopardy of losing their seat in states like Illinois and Rhode Island, who are the ones that are stopping gay rights from advancing in said states. Democrats. And in the cases with those democrats, we were told “better a democrat in this seat in Rhode Island than a conservative republican” I would never ever vote for a republican but let’s not pretend that just because I vote for a democrat, they’ll treat me and my rights like a full human being. Rhode Island opened my eyes. Big time.

  14. Bob says

    Arkansas and Louisiana are tied, in the latest poll, for the least accepting of marriage equality, at 31%.
    It takes MORE guts for Senators from those States to sit on the fence than it does for someone from a liberal State to trumpet equality.

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