US Senator Scott Brown, an opponent of gay marriage when he was in the Massachusetts Legislature, said in a statement today that gay marriage is “settled law” in Massachusetts and should be decided by the states instead of the federal government.
“Regardless of how states choose to define marriage, Senator Brown believes all people should be treated with dignity and respect,” his spokeswoman, Marcie Kinzel said in an emailed statement. “Right now, Americans of all backgrounds desperately need jobs, and that is what Senator Brown is focused on.”
Brown, a Republican, was a vocal opponent of gay marriage in the Massachusetts Legislature, voting to place measures on the ballot that would ban it constitutionally.
Since his election to the US Senate, Brown has voted to end the military’s “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy and has largely deflected questions about gay marriage, though he has not reversed his opposition. In March, Brown was asked about gay marriage by CNN’s Piers Morgan.
“It’s settled law in Massachusetts. Quite frankly, everybody’s moved on,” Brown said.
Brown’s leading Democratic opponent, Elizabeth Warren, has been courting the gay and lesbian community by advocating aggressively in favor of gay marriage.
In March, Warren told the Washington Blade, a gay newspaper, that President Obama should complete what he had previously characterized as an “evolving” opinion on the subject.
“I want to see the president evolve because I believe that is right. Marriage equality is morally right,” Warren told the Blade.
The comment was widely disseminated and led to some hope within the gay and lesbian community that it would put added pressure on Obama to support gay marriage.
This afternoon, Warren said on Twitter: “Proud to stand with our President in support of marriage equality. Thank you.”
Both candidates declined interview requests today.
Noah Bierman can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @noahbierman.