Senator Tom Harkin has come out in support of Iowa Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal's decision on gay marriage.

Gronstal, a Democrat, has vowed to keep a resolution seeking to place a gay marriage ban in the Iowa Constitution from reaching the Senate floor. The effort to reverse the state Supreme Court's 2009 ruling legalizing the institution was overwhelmingly approved last month in the House.

Social conservatives who oppose gay marriage have targeted Gronstal for ouster.

“Mike Gronstal is one of the finest public servants I have ever met in my life,” Harkin told reporters on Thursday, the Des Moines Register reported. “He has dedicated his life to fighting for working families, for those who don't have a lot of power and a lot of wealth.”

“I will do everything I can to support him and back him” in his reelection bid, Harkin said.

Harkin added that Gronstal's decision is “right on target.”

The senator said his thinking on whether to allow gay and lesbian couples to marry has “evolved” since he voted in favor of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which bans federal agencies from recognizing the legal marriages of gay couples.

“I don't think there should be discrimination about who is able to establish relationships like that in a contractual marriage, in a civil marriage,” he said.