Indiana's Joe Donnelly, who won a contentious fight with Republican Richard Mourdock for a U.S. Senate seat in November 2012, emerged today as a new proponent of same-sex marriage. He announced the decision on his Facebook page. “In recent years, our country has been involved in an important discussion on the issue of marriage equality. ... With the recent Supreme Court arguments and accompanying public discussion of same-sex marriage, I have been thinking about my past positions and votes. In doing so, I have concluded that the right thing to do is to support marriage equality for all.”
The Democratic joins scores of political leaders seemingly coming out in droves now in support of gays and lesbians, including Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Republican senators Mark Kirk and Bob Portman, and more.
Many praised the move, including the group Indiana Equality Action, which sent an email to supporters encouraging "all advocates for Hoosier equality to show your support and thank Senator Donnelly and his staff." All was not well in the Hoosierland over the matter, however. Indianapolis Star opinion page editor Tim Swarens wrote derisively about the decision, "How convenient for Sen. Donnelly, who won’t be on a ballot again for more than five years." Elsewhere in his piece, Swarens wrote, "Joe Donnelly, as his critics insisted before the election, really is Evan Bayh all over again."
The likes of Bayh, and now Donnelly, can be seen one of two ways, perhaps: As a pragmatist in demanding situations who tries to make sound choices for the sake of his constituents, or as a relative pawn, cowtowing to the seeming powers that be, to the trendy position of the times.
New York magazine wasted no time in noting that Donnelly "dropped out of the tournament" it is, in a way, running. It narrowed the field in the Gay Marriage Holdout Final Four to Democratic senators Mary Landrieu, Tim Johnson, Joe Manchin, and Mark Pryor.
YOUR TURN: What do you think of Donnelly's newly revealed stance on gay marriage?
Photo via Joe Donnelly's Facebook page