Iowa Senator Tom Harkin has made an
about-face on gay marriage, saying Friday he no longer supports a gay
Speaking on the PBS program Iowa
Press, Harkin, a Democrat, said he would vote against a ban on
gay marriage in Iowa.
“I would vote against it,” Harkin
Harkin's comments contradict earlier
statements he's made. In 1996, he voted in favor of the Defense of
Marriage Act (DOMA), the law that defines marriage as a heterosexual
union for the federal government and allows states to ignore legal
gay marriages performed in other states.
“Well, you know, we all grow as we
get older and we learn things and we become more sensitive to people
and people's lives and the more I've looked at that [gay marriage]
I've grown to think differently about how we should live. I guess
I've got to the point of live and let live.”
Iowa legalized gay marriage on April 3
after its Supreme Court ruled unanimously that a ban was
unconstitutional. Social conservatives and many Republicans have
called for a referendum that would ban gay marriage in the state
constitution, effectively overturning the court's decision.
Last month, Harkin issued a statement
saying his “personal view has been that marriage is between a man
and a woman,” but later added that he would “respect and support”
the decision of the court.
Today, Harkin said the issue would fade
away and that in the future people will wonder what the fuss was
“You know there's always going to be
some who feel that they have to push this issue, and, for whatever
reason, they are going to push it and try to divide people, but
they're on the losing end. They are on the losing end of history,”
In March, New York Senator Charles
Schumer announced that his opinion on gay and lesbian unions had
changed. He said he now supports gay marriage and the repeal of
Iowa's Republican senator, Chuck
Grassley, has called for a “thoroughly planned” and bipartisan
effort to repeal gay marriage in Iowa.