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53.

That's the number of U.S. Senators who support marriage equality now that Bill Nelson, Heidi Heitkamp, and Joe Donnelly have endorsed equality. Nelson announced his endorsement last night, creating the Senate majority. Donnelly and Heitkamp added their voices today.

The symbolic value of having a Senate majority in favor of equality is obvious, but it could also have legislative value. Now, even if the Supreme Court somehow determines that DOMA is constitutional, a majority of the United States Senate stands ready to repeal it. Republicans always seem to find a way to sink lower, but it's hard to imagine that they'd be willing to take the political heat from filibustering something like that.

The latest announcements leave just four Democrats—Mary Landrieu, Tim Johnson, Joe Manchin, and Mark Pryor—who have yet to endorse marriage equality. They are joined by 43 Republicans in the bigot caucus.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Yeah, but does a super duper duper majority? (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jck, thomask, Odysseus, irishwitch

    Come on, we all know that if we wan to change the six thousand year history of biblical marriage, we must have at least niney five percent of the Senate.  

    And then, when ninety percent of the senate agrees, the Republicans will just say some shit like, 'hey, if so many agree, then something must not be right!' Derp.

    Streichholzschächtelchen

    by otto on Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 07:26:15 AM PDT

  •  O Happy Day! (7+ / 0-)

    They're running away from this burning house. Good.

    What is truth? -- Pontius Pilate

    by commonmass on Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 07:26:17 AM PDT

  •  Put their money where their mouth is (6+ / 0-)

    If all these Senators have just changed their minds, we should see if they are truly willing to stand for marriage equality, and vote on repealing DOMA now. Then we'll see whose bite truly lives up to their bark.

    Or better yet, put out new legislation increasing the equal rights afforded to the LGBT community, since marriage is only the tip of the discriminatory iceberg.

    Of course Republicans probably would filibuster, so I'll make the same proposal if the number ever reaches filibuster-proof levels.

    •  We need to put our money where their mouth is (5+ / 0-)

      I just sent a note of thanks to Sen. Donnelly and a promise to find his campaign contribution website, to register my appreciation in more tangible terms. We should do the same with all our Senators who support equality for all.

      Why do you need to motivate your employees? Didn't you hire motivated people?

      by davelf2 on Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 07:49:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  And I sent a note to Bill Nelson (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        DannyX

        I think it is just as important to thank our elected officials for the good things they do as to chastise them for the bad.

        These Senators who are not behind gay marriage are afraid of their constituents. But as more and more Senators change their position, the momentum should start to carry the others.

        It is easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled. Mark Twain

        by lynneinfla on Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 08:33:22 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  ^^^^ THIS ^^^^ (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        DannyX

        We all need to validate them, and let them know how many constituents are watching and do notice when they choose equality and fairness.

        All steps count, even the small ones, even the symbolic ones.

        "They did not succeed in taking away our voice" - Angelique Kidjo - Opening the Lightning In a Bottle concert at Radio City Music Hall in New York City - 2003

        by LilithGardener on Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 08:50:30 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Really? (10+ / 0-)
    Republicans always seem to find a way to sink lower, but it's hard to imagine that they'd be willing to take the political heat from filibustering something like that.
    o.6

    With all due respect (because I really like your writing and your politics), have you been in a coma the last 5 years? I don't find it hard to imagine at all. Especially when you take into account that almost the entire Republican caucus of the Senate is in a giant delusional bubble of isolation from reality where they honestly seem to think that ANY expression of approval or even "meh" to any Democratic proposal is poison to their electoral chances.

    The last time the Republicans were this radical, they were working to elect former slaves to Congress. What a difference a century and a half makes!

    by jayjaybear on Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 07:27:20 AM PDT

  •  Boy Does This Sound Super Duper Wrong (5+ / 0-)
    Republicans always seem to find a way to sink lower, but it's hard to imagine that they'd be willing to take the political heat from filibustering something like that.

    Too Folk For You. - Schmidting in the Punch Bowl - verb - Committing an unexpected and underhanded political act intended to "spoil the party."

    by TooFolkGR on Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 07:30:04 AM PDT

  •  Way to go Red Staters! (3+ / 0-)

    Kind of surprised about Donnelly.  But it's a good surprise for once.

    Proud to share my name with Howard Dean

    by DeanNC on Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 07:32:17 AM PDT

    •  Yeah, especially... (4+ / 0-)

      since this is a state that gave Richard Mourdock (R) 44.28% of the vote AFTER he said rape was a "gift from God".

      AFTER he said that, people.  Think about that.

      Somehow, I think by making this announcement, Donnelly is not actually representing what the people of Indiana want, with respect to gay marriage.  The latest poll in Indiana on that was from just December 2012, and it had 45% supporting it, and 45% opposing it, with 10% having "no opinion".

      As we saw in California in 2008, "no opinion" basically meant "I don't like gays, but am too chicken to say that out loud."

      •  Donnelly is showing that he wants a FUTURE (0+ / 0-)

        in national politics.

        If the recent polls in his state are even for/against we can easily predict where the issue will poll the next time the voters decide who they want in office.

        "They did not succeed in taking away our voice" - Angelique Kidjo - Opening the Lightning In a Bottle concert at Radio City Music Hall in New York City - 2003

        by LilithGardener on Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 08:53:17 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  He doesn't have to run agin until 2018 (8+ / 0-)

      I'm not at all surprised that he and Heidtkamp came out today. They have 6 years for any pushback to die down. And at this rate, its going to be a "so what?" attack in 6 years.

      •  Completely agree (0+ / 0-)

        and I think that both of them are showing that they want to be taken seriously on the national stage in the future, not just taking a short-term cure from wisps of political wind.

        "They did not succeed in taking away our voice" - Angelique Kidjo - Opening the Lightning In a Bottle concert at Radio City Music Hall in New York City - 2003

        by LilithGardener on Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 08:54:52 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Indiana is Purpler than some think. (0+ / 0-)

      I was making phone calls in October, and getting a lot of ticket splitters for Pence and against Mourdock who were going to vote for Donnelly, not just sit that one out. We have 54% against a Constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, while we also have a majority for the moment against legalizing gay marriage or civil unions, and against marriage equality via overturning DOMA.

      That is going to change. Indiana is part of that national conversation that is currently moving at about 2.5% annually toward marriage equality. It is no trick for Donnelly to calculate that he will have significant majority support on this issue when he runs again in 2018. He is also evolving on guns (for background checks, still iffy on a registration database). If we can get him to reconsider abortion, we might be able to turn him into an actual Democrat.

      Ceterem censeo, gerrymandra delenda est

      by Mokurai on Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 06:23:51 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  hard to imagine? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jck, conniptionfit

    over 80% of Americans support background checks; the republicans in congress oppose it almost unanimously.
    Austerity, including cuts to entitlements, is just as unpopular with the people, but supported almost unanimously by congressional republicans. Immigration reform is another venue with the same dynamic.
    Gerrymandered districts, a media bubble, and the untiring letter writes/spittle fleckers combine to keep the modern republican contingent trapped on this path. There is little evidence to back up the idea that republicans will yield on this or any other issue. It is their only defining characteristic. They will filibuster a repeal of DOMA or any federal legislation to create marriage equality. They have to. It is who they are.

    Last full month in which the average daily temperature did not exceed twentieth-century norms: 2/1985 - Harper's Index, 2/2013

    by kamarvt on Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 07:33:16 AM PDT

  •  Shitting bricks yet Boehner and McTurtle?....stick (0+ / 0-)

    around.....EVERYBODY knows you DON'T want to talk about this.

  •  How crazy is this (5+ / 0-)

    In 2004 Bush was elected in no small part by putting gay marriage bans on the ballots in states across the country. Every single ban passed. Less than 10 years later the majority of the United States Senate publicly endorses same sex marriage. I've never seen this kind of movement on a social issue this fast.

    •  You ain't seen nothing yet (0+ / 0-)

      Yes, the American public was evolving at about 1% annually on most social issues until we reached the tipping point on gay marriage. Now LGBT rights, including full marriage equality, are advancing at 2.5% annually. Politicians who might have supported LGBT rights but were afraid to do so are now coming out of the closet faster than LGBTs.

      In addition, we have huge majorities for gun control, which has been held back primarily by fear of the ever-shriller, ever-nastier NRA among politicians. But Mayors Against Illegal Guns is having great success opposing pro-NRA politicians, and the NRA is having almost no success against those who favor gun safety legislation.

      Today we are at 52% nationally in favor of legalizing marijuana, according to a PPP poll, an increase of 11% in the last three years. (Some other polls showed majority support sooner.) That means that opinion on this issue has been evolving faster than on LGBT rights.

      Racism, bigotry, misogyny, warmongering, even Mammonism are in decline. The Christian Right, Tea Party, and Libertarian factions are responding with denial, ever more vicious overreach, and vitriolic denunciations of each other and everybody else, and starting to threaten splitting off to form third parties.

      Meanwhile, the Democratic majority is starting to wake up and realize that if it votes, it can overcome the gerrymander and the filibuster to put Democratic, even Progressive policies in place.

      The Republican Party is thus in danger of complete collapse, in the manner of the Federalists and Whigs before them. As long as the racists, bigots, etc. can continue to purify The Stupid Party of those they consider RINOs, nothing can reverse this decline into irrelevance. Certainly not a rebranding campaign from the top.

      Of course, once the collapse occurs, the rich and the corporations will waste no time seeking to cobble together another coalition that it can delude into supporting their desire for all of the money. Maybe they can, but they will have many fewer options left for doing so.

      Ceterem censeo, gerrymandra delenda est

      by Mokurai on Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 09:31:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The problem is the House (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mconvente, Odysseus, skrekk

    While it looks like the Respect for Marriage Act (which would repeal DOMA) would get through the Senate, it would be DOA in the House.

    "Valerie, why am I getting all these emails calling me a classless boor?"

    by TLS66 on Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 07:38:44 AM PDT

  •  Are there any viable primary challengers for (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pierre9045

    the 4 holdout Democrats? Because they're Liebermanites.

    •  Johnson is retiring (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mconvente, jck, Odysseus

      So you'd only need to worry about 3. Pryor will probably lose to a Republican next year anyway.

      •  Pryor (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jck, Odysseus

        I was about to say the same thing. Arkansas is getting redder, and Pryor is going to be toast in the next cycle. This state of mine is incredibly backwards. It doesn't matter how many times Pryor sides with Republicans, the GOP here still refer to him as an Obama-loving liberal. With this crowd, you can forget marriage equality.

        Ugh...I need to move.

      •  which is why... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jck

        ...he needs to come out in support of it as well...he's not running again!

        What a tool! (until he comes out in support of gay marriage)

    •  Challenging any of them would be nuts. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Odysseus

      They're some of the most precariously-positioned Democrats in the country.

    •  Manchin, Pryor, and Landrieu are all popular Dems (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jck, Odysseus

      These remaining holdout Dems are not Blanche Lincoln or Arlen Specter. Manchin, Pryor, and Landrieu are in many ways, including polling, the most popular Dems in their states and are realistically the only three Democrats in their respective states that can confidently fend off and win against legitimate Republican challengers. Landrieu in particular has higher approval ratings than many top-tier Republicans in Louisiana. Manchin's approval ratings may have died down a bit during his tenure in the Senate, but he had some of the highest approval ratings in the country as WV Governor. Tennant is a bit more liberal than Manchin is, but we need her to run against Capito in 2014, not enter a bloody Dem primary against Manchin in 2018. LA/AR also have Republican senators in the other class, and any viable Dems should run against Boozman/Vitter, not their Dem cohort.

      For the record, I think Landrieu does support gay marriage, but she's trying to hedge her electoral chances. She released an extremely vague, coded statement last week regarding it. Landrieu has been a very good Democrat on every other issue besides oil, and she was the ACA's biggest cheerleader (and still is) once her own issues with it were resolved.

      Manchin and Pryor, I believe, are vehemently anti-SSM. Then again, I said the same about Nelson and Donnelly. We'll see.

      •  3 situations. (0+ / 0-)

        1) Johnson, red state, retiring, but may not want to muddy the waters in case his son gets into the race. That is really the only hold that anyone has over him.
        2) Pryor and Landrieu are more or less in the same situation electorally, they go up for election in 2014 in red/purplish states.
        3) Machin - I really think he personally believes that gay marriage is wrong. He is going to be a pain in the neck for the Democratic caucus, but I think it is a case of better him than a Republican...

  •  I think (0+ / 0-)

    they look even more hypocritical if they don't filibuster.  It's a no-win situation for these cretins.  I would love for that worm Lindsay Graham to filibuster.  If he doesn't, he needs to be asked why.  Mark my words, if marriage equality is indeed recognized, the slimy Republicans will be taking full credit for it without the least bit of irony.  

    "Never before in all our history have these forces been so united against one candidate as they stand today. They are unanimous in their hate for me--and I welcome their hatred." Franklin D. Roosevelt

    by djbender on Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 07:40:14 AM PDT

  •  Fantastic news! Now, how many will stand up (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a gilas girl

    and protect the New Deal?

    "Lets show the rascals what Citizens United really means."

    by smiley7 on Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 07:42:46 AM PDT

  •  Ah (0+ / 0-)
    Mary Landrieu, Tim Johnson, Joe Manchin, and Mark Pryor
    The usual suspects - doesn't matter what the issue is it is always the same names.
    •  Johnson isn't really (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Odysseus

      since he already has sounded in favor of DOMA repeal and is retiring.  I bet he'll come out for it, and Landrieu might surprise since she says her views have "evolved" personally though she must represent he constituents.  Now, imo Manchin and Pryor won't (I'd be stunned).

      •  I seriously doubt that (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Odysseus

        Landrau will come over. She'll give the "evolving" statements, but she's up for re-election in 14, so would be shocked if she actually came out in favor.

        "I'm totally pro-choice in the matter of abortion. But of course I'm also so radically pro-life that I think every person from birth onward must have full and affordable access to healthcare." - Gail Collins

        by gritsngumbo on Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 08:25:59 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Johnson might be waiting for his son's decision (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Odysseus, bythesea

        The electoral politics in SD are tricky right now and I think Herseth-Sandlin and Johnson's son are being lobbied hard to look at the SD-Sen and SD-AL seats closely.

        Johnson's been an extremely good Democrat for the most part, including his vote on DOMA repeal, so I don't see any reason why he hasn't voiced his opinion on this except as a way to give his son some cover in case he does decide to run.

        An unfortunate reason, honestly, but he'd be running in South Dakota, not Massachusetts.

    •  From the usual states. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      outspoken82, Odysseus

      Unfortunately, a lot of that has to do with the people they represent in those states.

      Guess what percent of Arkansans support same-sex marriage.  Only 18%.  55% are against any kind of legal recognition for gay couples.

      You wanna talk backwards... I mean, only 18%??

    •  I personally give Landrieu (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      outspoken82

      a pass:

      "I feel very strongly that people should be allowed to love who they love, but unfortunately my state has a very strong ban against gay marriage constitutionally, so I'm going to have to think really carefully and listen to the voters of my state about that issue," Landrieu said. "But it's very tough because I think most people believe that people should love who they love."
      The subtext of this statement screams: "Yeah, I support marriage equality, but my constituents don't, my job is to represent them, and I'm up for re-election in less than 2 years."

      I'm okay with that.

      That being said, Landrieu tends to be on the wrong side of most issues, and just like 2008, I could take her or leave her. Happy to have her vote for Majority Leader but she's pretty useless otherwise.

  •  Since Heitkamp & Donnelly were just elected .... (3+ / 0-)

    ..... and thus do not have to seek re-election for six years .... which are light-years in the matter of marriage equality ... they were in a good position to do this; it's hard to imagine that (by then) this will be seen as suicidal. Here is something I wrote in Cheers & Jeers about these dominoes falling .....

    SEEING THE RUSH to embrace marriage equality in the US Senate these past few days ... reminds me of a line from the late comic David Frye about Democratic politicians changing their mind on the Vietnam War at a critical moment, which went something like this:

    "I came out against the war on Moratorium Day - but early, well before noon ..... not like some political opportunists who waited to announce on the six o'clock evening news".

    "We should pay attention to that man behind the curtain."

    by Ed Tracey on Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 07:57:22 AM PDT

  •  And now? (0+ / 0-)

    what if the last 4 Dems flip and are joined by Murkowski, Collins and Ayotte? We would be at 60...

    Could we imagine the introduction of a sweeping bill legalizing same-sex marriage nationally? (I know there is no chance in the House for now, but at least the Senate would be great)

    Or shall we assume that some of these marriage equality supporters would only merely support DOMA repeal, but not a bill legalizing marriage nationally (invoking states rights, etc...)?

  •  Don't be so sure: (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    skrekk
    ...but it's hard to imagine that they'd be willing to take the political heat from filibustering something like that
    The more the acceptance of it moves toward critical mass, the more that those in opposition double down.  It's the way that the extremes show their "committment" AND the way they win financial support from the minority of the fringe who will fund raise on that kind of determination to stand against the heathen tide.

    Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

    by a gilas girl on Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 08:37:41 AM PDT

  •  Had a feeling Heitkamp would come around and I am (0+ / 0-)

    very proud of Donnelly on this issue.  No regrets helping either of these two get elected last year.  Not sure what Tim Johnson's deal is.  Pryor I don't think will come around but Landrieu I think could.  Manchin is 50/50.

    Funny Stuff at http://www.funnyordie.com/oresmas

    by poopdogcomedy on Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 09:15:11 AM PDT

  •  You can look at recent polling on the issue (0+ / 0-)

    in most states at

    Public opinion of same-sex marriage in the United States: By State

    and projections for all states at

    How Opinion on Same-Sex Marriage Is Changing, and What It Means

    The Wikipedia table shows 21 states with majority support for gay marriage out of 42 listed, or exactly half. A further six-point evolution could bring that number up to 30. Nate Silver's data show only 8 states plus DC with majority support in 2008. He projected majority support in succeeding Presidential election years as somewhat less than the other table's survey data showed for 2012.

    2012 20 states
    2016 31 states
    2020 44 states

    In 2009 Silver predicted that Mississippi would be the last state to tip, in 2024.

    We have the four Democratic holdouts noted above, up against these approximate public opinion stats and election years:

    Tim Johnson SD 43% 2016
    Mark Pryor AR 37% 2014
    Mary Landrieu LA 29% 2014
    Joe Manchin WV 19% 2014

    There is no chance of sufficient evolution in the states with elections in 2014, and not much chance in South Dakota, with an election in 2016.

    Ceterem censeo, gerrymandra delenda est

    by Mokurai on Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 10:34:04 PM PDT

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