Tester says gay couples should be allowed to marry

2013-03-26T13:35:00Z 2013-03-27T10:54:25Z Tester says gay couples should be allowed to marryThe Associated Press The Associated Press
March 26, 2013 1:35 pm  • 

Sen. Jon Tester said Tuesday that he now supports gay marriage, joining a growing list of political leaders publicly changing their stance on the issue.

U.S. Sen. Max Baucus, who last year affirmed support for gay marriage, said Tuesday that he will co-sponsor an effort this year to repeal the federal Defense of Marriage Act that requires the federal government to refuse to recognize same-sex marriages.

Tester, re-elected just last year, released a short statement affirming his support for gay couples.

"Montanans believe in the right to make a good life for their families," Tester said in a statement. "How they define a family should be their business and their business alone. I'm proud to support marriage equality because no one should be able to tell a Montanan or any American who they can love and who they can marry."

The position change on the issue came on the same day the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments over California's ban on same-sex marriage. On Wednesday, the high court will hear arguments concerning a part of the 1996 federal Defense of Marriage Act that bars same-sex couples who are legally married from receiving federal tax, pension and other benefits available to other married people.

Tester, in the past, has opposed gay marriage, pointing to the decision by Montana voters in 2004 to amend the state Constitution to prevent same-sex marriages. But the Democrat said the time has come to extend the rights to gay couples.

Tester was first elected in 2006 in a race where he quietly announced opposition to gay marriage, and he rarely made it a noteworthy issue. In that race, he said that although he opposed gay marriage, he would not vote to amend the U.S. Constitution to ban it. He also said at the time that he would support certain allowances for gay couples.

Other prominent politicians also have recently stated their support of gay marriage, including U.S. Sens. Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Rob Portman of Ohio and Mark Warner of Virginia. President Barack Obama announced his support for gay marriage last year.

Montana's congressional delegation remains split on the issue. Baucus first told reporters in the state last year that he supports gay marriage. His office said Tuesday that Baucus will now take a lead role in repealing the 1996 federal law that opposes gay marriage.

"The federal government should not be getting involved in people's private lives," Baucus said in a statement. "Grown adults should be free to choose who they spend their lives with in a committed relationship."

Republican U.S. Rep. Steve Daines said last year on the campaign trail that he opposes gay marriage.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(38) Comments

  1. steeline
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    steeline - April 09, 2013 9:38 am
    The term "common sense" is term that once had a meaning of what a "common man/woman" would do in a given situation. Now that term has a new meaning. Commons Sense means that; when a left wing liberal progressive socialist democrat says something it is " Common Sense" don't ya know. We have to get the left to the right so we as a people can" move forward", so to speak.
  2. skooter
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    skooter - April 03, 2013 6:26 pm
    but what does that matter dietz? there's a big difference between names and actual laws and effort to deny a whole class of people the right to marry because of another group's religious believes and contrived moral hypocrisy. For instance: note that the AG of Virginia petitioned to have sodomy (wonder if that gets thru) for all, straight or not, made illegal but that certainly a rarity legally across the nation and not something that straights anywhere would ever go to jail for...is it? Same act but far different penalties and treatment.

    language evolves...like a lot (but not all) people do too. thankfully the same dictionaries, encyclopedia and books that contained racial slurs as fact, or claimed the lower intelligence of races by skull size, or repeated stereotypical inaccuracies as truth have tended to be corrected and removed and set aside as the idiocy of our own bigotry and racial fears...and so shall this period of treating the g-y community as outcasts one day - hopefully sooner than later. It's gotten better already but this argument shows it hasn't gotten good enough.
  3. dietz1963
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    dietz1963 - April 03, 2013 2:54 pm
    Makes perfect sense skooter. In my opinion (or my point), is the American Psychiatric Association did not help the LGBT community by listing it as a mental disorder for so long. In fact, as I read into this historically, they had no basis, performed no study what so ever for labling it as such. Makes me wonder what other disorders they list that are not disorders at all.
  4. dietz1963
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    dietz1963 - April 03, 2013 2:50 pm
    My point I was making skooter is there is no need to create yet a new word in the vocabulary, just add to an existing definition. Which, as I was pointing out to steeline, has already been done. I used to enjoy reading dictionaries and 30 years ago it did not define marriage in the dictionary including unions of same sex. Simply that marriage was defined as union between man and woman. Don't know when it was added, but it was. Just like adding homosexuality in derogeratory terms of g.a.y. or f.a.g. First time someone called me either one, I looked them up. And back then, neither of these two words had anything to do with homosexuality. So when I was called either one back in the day, I responded what I understood the definition was i.e. not homosexual.

    I could be offended at any number of terms used now a days. But I didn't grow up in the hypersenstive culture and learned the sticks and stones rule. I tend to shrug it off.
  5. Curmudgeon
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    Curmudgeon - April 03, 2013 1:51 pm
    Not original with me, but I like it!

    "Most of organized religion is some ten percent about the search for God, and all the rest is crowd control."

    As witness so many Bible-thumping comments in this string.
  6. Riamh
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    Riamh - April 03, 2013 10:50 am
    To those of you opposing same sex marriage : You folks seem to have confused your church with the government. There's a separation of church and state for a reason. If you're curious as to that reason, go crack a history book, and read up on the inquisition, and the dark ages.

    Secondly, What business is it of yours who finds love with whom? No one is telling you to marry anyone you don't want to, some folks simply wish for the same liberties you and I enjoy as citizens of these United States.
  7. skooter
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    skooter - April 02, 2013 10:12 pm
    This makes no sense Dietz..what's your point? That you think it's a mental disorder (wrongly) or not? This chiming to chime thing get's weird.
  8. skooter
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    skooter - April 02, 2013 10:11 pm
    What exactly do you think you are adding here...? Nothing? The chance for you to use a word that was once easily bandied about as more than cigarettes (and still frequently used by some)? Let's grow up - just because it was used once too freely doesn't mean it should be now and like many words you guys are going to have to educate yourself that just because it doesn't offend you to call somebody a slur doesn't mean it's right.
  9. skooter
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    skooter - April 02, 2013 10:09 pm
    Exactly right and very well said...it's only because it's a sin that they are horrified by because they are told they should be. They'll overlook all of the others as long as they can condemn the g-ys.
  10. dietz1963
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    dietz1963 - April 02, 2013 1:17 pm
    I actually agree with Curmudgeon on this one. Come on folks, whats the big deal? Anyone that has gone through the trials of divorce understands marriage isn't the greatest thing in the world. By and large, there are actually less folks getting married these days anyway. The "so called" benefits of marriage aren't really benefits. If you die and don't have a will, its not a guarantee your spouse will get your things. If you have life insurance, you still have to elect a beneficiary, spouse doesn't automatically get it. Children, just because your married doesn't guarantee in divorce you'll be able to see your kids as much as you want (if at all). Bottom line, pass the law allowing same sex marriage already.
  11. AntiXenophobia
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    AntiXenophobia - April 02, 2013 12:00 pm
    I have never understood why the sin of being homosexual is treated differently than other sins. No one is out trying to pass laws to prevent adulterers, murderers, liars, or sexual predators from getting married. It feels like many christians treat homosexuality differently than other sins, and I wonder why that is. Nothing in the bible calls out this sin as being any worse than other sins. From my perspective, it feels a lot like christians not being good christians, trying to pass judgement themselves instead of loving and forgiving and letting god pass his judgement when the time comes.
  12. SerialThriller
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    SerialThriller - April 02, 2013 8:59 am
    Wow...VERY good!!
  13. SerialThriller
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    SerialThriller - April 02, 2013 8:55 am
    Well, I DID have a comment but the lovely and oppressive IR wont allow it stating 'profanity' when there was none nor the 'veiled' kind. So I'll just pretend. As this paper does most the time..lol

    Copy/Paste Flamers post. He said it best. (or she)
  14. skooter
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    skooter - April 01, 2013 9:09 pm
    Why not worry about your own life...thereby you can have your own arbitrary definition of sin and decide to violate it or not for all issues. And let the people who want to get married, divorced or whatever...g-y or straight take care of their own-darn-selves. The whole American freedom, and take responsibility for yourself and let others do as they please thing gets lost awfully quickly when you want to condemn others because they are different, doesn't it?
  15. Sgravel
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    Sgravel - April 01, 2013 7:52 pm
    Let's remember that Jon has sent both Connie Burns and Denny Rehberg into Lobbyists retirement.

    This whole subject is becoming a lesson many never learned apparently when they were in grade school:

    We have something called separation of church and state and the state issues marriage licenses, not the church.Why do you think the US Supreme court is considering this issue instead of the Pope?
  16. Curmudgeon
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    Curmudgeon - April 01, 2013 2:34 pm
    The solution, Mr. CUNNANE, is very simple: if you don't like same-sex marriage, don't have one.

    But please don't try to force your own bigotry on everybody else.
  17. dietz1963
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    dietz1963 - April 01, 2013 1:40 pm
    No need to make a seperate name steeline. The definitions in the dictionary have already been changed to include same sex marriage as follows.. the state of being united to a person of the same sex in a relationship like that of a traditional marriage. Its no different then other words in the dictionary where additional verbiage was added. Such as the word f.a.g. Originally there were only 2 definitions, one was it was a cigarette (british) and the other meant a british underclassman. Course later another definition was added. Or g.a.y. Originally that meant happy, course later on....I could list others...
  18. AntiXenophobia
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    AntiXenophobia - April 01, 2013 1:24 pm
    Why do christians feel so compelled to attack LBGT folks with this marriage issue? Why don't you attack adulterers and not let them marry? They are sinners, too. All you christians seem fine allowing adulterers, alchoholics, liars, and theives marry. Why not let a man marry a man or a woman marry a woman? What makes their sin so much worse than the murderer or the sexual predator, who you all seem to have no problems with as far as marriage is concerned?
  19. dietz1963
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    dietz1963 - April 01, 2013 9:51 am
    As far as growing up without government intrusion into private matters, grew up in the same era (over 30 years ago). But in the 30 years since, government intrusion into private matters has grown. Anyone that doesn't think so is still stuck back around 1980.
  20. dietz1963
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    dietz1963 - April 01, 2013 9:49 am
    Some of this business on homosexuality you can thank the brain children of the Diagnostic and Statistics Manual of Mental Disorders put together by the American Psychiatric Association. Wasn't really until 1987 was homosexuality dropped as a mental disorder.
  21. steeline
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    steeline - March 30, 2013 8:44 am
    Why not call "IT" Same sex "Garriage". That would work for me. Anyone can sin the way they feel compfortable doing so.
  22. FlamingLiberal1
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    FlamingLiberal1 - March 29, 2013 12:45 pm
    The Montana values I grew up with included freedom from government intrusion into private matters, and minding one's own business. Not abusing the lawmaking process to deny people the very basic right of a relationship with the person he/she loves. Someone else's same-gender marriage does not threaten my marriage, my children, or create any deleterious effects on society. To the contrary, it allows people to legally commit to one another in a way which confers many rights and obligations, and that makes society better. It certainly cuts down on the number of lawsuits filed to decide the disposition of property in the event of a dissolution or a death in an unmarried couple.
  23. skooter
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    skooter - March 29, 2013 9:20 am
    God, this debate is this country and it's most repressed, inane and stupid. It's embarrassing that's it's even a debate.

    Good comments and points by many like AntiXeno, darth, & FL1... even jaded ol' Deitz coming in on the plus side of things for the home team.
  24. Vic Venom
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    Vic Venom - March 27, 2013 4:10 pm
    Way to stand for those Montana values Jon boy. I know a few people's votes you won't be getting during the next election. I believe the majority of Montanans do not support g-ay marriage, so I can see how well you are representing your state.
  25. Baalzevuv
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    Baalzevuv - March 27, 2013 1:39 pm
    I wouldn't trust the bible for moral authority on marriage, unless you condoned rape. Deuteronomy 22:28-29.
  26. enu_22
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    enu_22 - March 27, 2013 12:48 pm
    What the Bible says has nothing to do with marriage being constitutional or not. Unlike some countries, ours is not governed by religious law. Religion has no relevance in constitution law.
  27. AntiXenophobia
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    AntiXenophobia - March 27, 2013 12:06 pm
    The issue is the state recognizing marriage, not your church. Right now, I can go into any church that will allow it and get married to another man. That is not illegal. Your church may not perform such a ceremony, but there are churches that do. Then me and all my family and friends can recognize that I am married to another man. So what we have today is a situation where the state doesn't acknowledge that marriage, which is really no different than saying that black people can't get married, or a man can't marry a woman with AIS, for example. If you care about your biblical tradition, then go to a church that refuses to marry two members of the same sex. That religious tradition should not be the cause of the state granting rights to me and you that are not enjoyed by all Americans.

    You think there is moral decline today? Compared to what? Compared to when our country was built by stealing from Native Americans and on the backs of slave labor? Unless you can show some actual data to support your claim or moral decay, I suspect that you are really just expressing that you are getting old and don't like what kids today are up to, which has been going on since biblical times. God himself, in the bible, laments to horrid state of morality amongst the flock starting thousands of years ago. It is not for you to judgs and punish folks who want to love and marry someone of their own sex, that is for a just God to do. In my mind, a christian is told to hate the sin and not the sinner, and has a responsibility to be fair to their neighbor, including letting them marry whomever they want and enjoy the same rights as everyone else. God will take care of the rest.
  28. Darth Vader
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    Darth Vader - March 27, 2013 11:44 am
    Remember we are talking law here, not religion or a person's own definition of morality. If you want to believe in some silly "Bibilical definition", that is your right but don't confuse religious beliefs with rights granted under the law
  29. GDIZLV
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    GDIZLV - March 27, 2013 11:27 am
    It is so sad to read about people choosing the broad path. "Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.” Matthew 7:13. It would be so refreshing to see a political leader actually choose the narrow path and defend it! And as for the “leaders” of our day, I pray that they will take heed of another warning in the bible “Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets.” Luke 6:26.

    God loves us very much, so much in fact, that He will protect your right to choose to not go to heaven. “See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil; choose life.” Deuteronomy 30:15. Lastly, love the sinner, not the sin. Jesus embraced the tax collectors and prostitutes of his time, however, there was a string attached. Jesus tells all the sinners to “Go and sin no more." John 8:11. We need to stop promoting sin under the guise of giving everyone equality.
  30. steeline
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    steeline - March 27, 2013 9:21 am
    Johnny you are a follower. Marriage is when a man and women commit to each other. G-y people can do the same with a civil union. But don't call it marriage. There is a difference.
  31. knucklehead
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    knucklehead - March 27, 2013 7:13 am
    Marriage no. Some kind of civil confirmation, perhaps.Don't confuse the two. Seriously, What's next? Polygamy? Multiple Partners? The line needs to be drawn somewhere. Look how fast our country is turning into Rome.
  32. skooter
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    skooter - March 26, 2013 10:34 pm
    Thanks for supporting common sense Sen. Tester
  33. Eyes_like_Zapruder
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    Eyes_like_Zapruder - March 26, 2013 6:14 pm
    Yes, thank you for your stand.
  34. BillCunnane
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    BillCunnane - March 26, 2013 5:53 pm
    Marriage is between a man and a woman. Not man and man nor woman and woman. It is not news that Tester would follow Obama's lead in pushing for same sex Marriages. There should be no Federal or state recognition of same sex couples being able to marry. The traditional as well as Biblical definition of marriage is between man and woman and should be kept as such. The moral decline of this country needs to be stopped and that includes same sex marriage.
  35. hiddenmuggle
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    hiddenmuggle - March 26, 2013 5:30 pm
    Way to go Tester!!! A great step forward for the voice of Montana!
  36. dietz1963
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    dietz1963 - March 26, 2013 4:30 pm
    I never understood what the problem is, let them marry. Let them find out its not as rosy as they would think. Particularily, heaven forbid, at divorce time. Despite our "so dubbed" equality, wait till ya divorce and find what you worked for taken away. And don't have the illusion of joint custody either, unless you consider joint only seeing the child once a weekend....or not at all. Which is why, more and more folks either don't marry, or have a pre-nup. Marriage of today isn't what its cracked up to be.
  37. FlamingLiberal1
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    FlamingLiberal1 - March 26, 2013 4:01 pm
    As someone who is straight but not narrow, I applaud Senator Tester for his taking this position publicly, particularly in a state like Montana.
  38. TMW0270
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    TMW0270 - March 26, 2013 2:02 pm
    Thank you Senator Tester.

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