Sen. Tim Johnson Endorses Gay Marriage

Sen. Tim Johnson (D-SD), one of the last remaining Democratic holdouts to oppose same-sex marriage, announced Monday that he now supports gay nuptials.

“After lengthy consideration, my views have evolved sufficiently to support marriage equality legislation,” Johnson said in a statement. “This position doesn’t require any religious denomination to alter any of its tenets; it simply forbids government from discrimination regarding who can marry whom.” 

As one Democrat after another came out in support of marriage equality over the last month, Johnson’s reticence on the subject confused some, as he will not seek re-election next year and therefore faced no political damage for changing positions. Some speculated that he remained silent in order to avoid undermining the political prospects of his son, U.S. attorney Brendan Johnson, who is said to be considering a run in next year’s open U.S. Senate race.

Johnson’s reversal leaves only three Democratic senators who still oppose same-sex marriage: Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV), Mark Pryor (D-AR) and Mary Landrieu (D-LA). Manchin reiterated his opposition last week, while Pryor said he’s “undecided” on the matter.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom Kludt is a reporter for Talking Points Memo based in New York City, covering media and national affairs. Originally from South Dakota, Tom joined TPM as an intern in late-2011 and became a staff member during the 2012 election. He can be reached at tom@talkingpointsmemo.com.
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