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Donnelly Now Supports Marriage Equality

Joe Donnelly at a VA Clinic Opening in South Bend.

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.

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 says 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,” he says.

But American Family Association of Indiana executive director Micah Clark says 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,” Clark says. “So I think the issue could backfire because Donnelly’s position will be a wedge between he and the moderate base.”

If the General Assembly passes the marriage amendment next session, it will go on the ballot in fall of 2014.

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