U.S. Democratic Senator Mark Pryor say he is “opposed to gay marriage,” and always has been. Pryor, who gave an interview last week, clarified his comments to note that he is “unsure” whether same-sex couples should be entitled to federal benefits, but he is not undecided on same-sex marriage.
“I am opposed to gay marriage,” he said in an e-mail to 5NEWS:
“In the interview with KFSM done on April 5, I also discussed whether gay couples should receive benefits if they work for the federal government. On the benefits issue, I said to ‘put me down in the undecided category.’ By that I meant that, depending on what the U.S. Supreme Court decides, I will evaluate whether federal benefits should be available to gay couples. Of course, I will consider the impact any extension of benefits would have on the federal budget.”
In an interview at 5NEWS in Fayetteville on Friday (April 5), the senator said he has spoken about the issue with gay friends, who told him their sexual preference is not a choice.
On benefits for same-sex couples, Pryor said, “This is one that is an evolving issue in Washington. I haven’t really analyzed this in terms of benefits and what that does for the federal budget, (the) federal impact of this, and I’m sure as the gay marriage decision goes through the U.S. Supreme Court and all the ramifications for that over the next few months, we’ll spend some time on this.
“I would put me down in the undecided category,” he said. “I did talk with some friends of mine in the gay and lesbian community over the last week or so. We talked about this issue. We also talked about a question I received in the office not too long ago where they asked whether being gay was a choice or whether you were born that way. I told them, I said, ‘Honestly I’ve never really thought a lot about that.’ Maybe a lot of people think about that. I haven’t spent a lot of time thinking about that. But one of the things I hear from them is they feel very strongly that it’s not a choice for them, and I respect that. I’m not going to dispute that. I appreciate that, and I appreciate their honesty. For a lot of these people they just really opened their heart to me and talked about some of the struggles they’ve had over the years with their sexual orientation. I respect that and appreciate their patience, and I appreciate their honesty.”
Senator Pryor, who serves the very conservative state of Arkansas, is seeking re-election next year.
Recently, many Democratic Senators, and even two Republicans, have voiced support for same-sex marriage.
The only Democratic Senator who has not weighed in at this point is Joe Manchin of West Virginia.
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