Yesterday, Senators Mark Begich (D-AK), Claire McCaskill (D-MO) and Mark Warner (D-VA) came out in support of marriage equality. In addition, a Buzzfeed reporter says that Senators Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) and Tim Johnson (D-SD) now oppose the Defense of Marriage Act. The vast majority of Democratic senators and at least one Republican support gay marriage. It’s time for Kay Hagan to do so, too.
There’s little political risk in supporting it now, but there could be if she waits until the heat of her re-election campaign. Before the 2014 election, Hagan will have to take a stand and neither the press nor the activists on either side are going accept her position that she opposed Amendment One. She should come out in support of it now, while the issue is before the court. It’s better to deal with the fallout today than in September or October before her election.
But there won’t be much fallout. Public opinion is shifting rapidly in favor of gay marriage and, in a year and half, support will only be broader. Besides, the only voters for whom opposition to gay marriage is a make or break issue are not going to vote for her anyway. However, in a low-turnout election, she is going to need the full support of the activists who have pushed the issue this far.
Finally, the attack on Hagan would be that the she’s too liberal for the state but that line won’t work. Hagan has smartly established herself as a moderate who works across party lines to get things done. A successful political attack is grounded in truth and that one has none.