U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly of Indiana is one of eight Democrats being encouraged to support gay marriage in a petition being touted by MoveOn.org.
The activist group points out the “last eight” have yet to come out in support the marriage equality for all couples.
Earlier this week, Democratic Senator Bob Casey of Pennsylvania announced his support for gay marriage “after much deliberation.”
MoveOn is circulating a number of petitions targeting Democratic senators from Arkansas, Florida, West Virginia, South Dakota, North Dakota, Louisiana and Delaware over the issue.
“Fifty-four percent of Hoosiers oppose a ban on gay marriage,” says Indiana MoveOn member Edward Cherlin, who started the Donnelly petition. “We need you to stand up publicly to the bullies and bigots along with the majority of Hoosiers in support of our friends, neighbors, co-workers, and families.”
In recent weeks a number of Democratic and Republican senators have voiced their support for gay and lesbian couples to be legally married. GOP senators Mark Kirk of Illinois and Rob Portman of Ohio are notable switches and Democrat Jon Tester of Montana is another notable backer.
During the 2012 election against state Treasurer Richard Mourdock, Donnelly promoted himself as a moderate and spotlighted his more conservative views.
Donnelly came out against President Obama’s support of gay marriage, but the freshman senator is “reviewing” the Supreme Court case on the Defense of Marriage Act.
“Senator Donnelly has a record of supporting the position that marriage is reserved for the union between a man and a woman,” Donnelly spokesman Ben Ray told WFPL last week. “As you know, the Supreme Court is currently hearing two cases involving the issue of marriage equality, and Senator Donnelly will continue to review the issue.”
An Indiana law banning same-sex marriage was approved in 1996, but lawmakers have been pushing for a statewide referendum to amend the Indiana Constitution to define marriage as between one man and one woman.
One of the eight senators targeted in the MoveOn petitions—Sen. Tom Carper, D-De.,—announced this week he support same-sex marriage.
“The people are asking for it now. And we really are pushing hard on the Dems to be on the right side of history and listen to their constituents,” says MoveOn campaign director Susannah Hook-Rodgers, adding Indiana members hope Donnelly can also be persuaded.
“There was a quote from Donnelly today saying that while he believes marriage is between a man and a woman he’s constantly looking over at the issue and listening to what his constituents are saying. Similar to the rest of the senators we’re putting pressure on we know that they’re really watching it closely right now,” she says.