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Two more senators now support gay marriage

WASHINGTON -- Two freshman Democratic senators from conservative states, Joe Donnelly of Indiana and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, have joined the growing chorus of lawmakers who say they support gay marriage.

In separate statements released minutes apart yesterday, the senators said their views on the issue had evolved. They joined a rapidly growing list of senators who support gay marriage, a list that now includes 49 Democrats, two independents who caucus with Democrats and two Republicans.

"I have concluded the federal government should no longer discriminate against people who want to make lifelong, loving commitments to each other or interfere in personal, private and intimate relationships," Heitkamp said. Donnelly said he reconsidered his opposition after recent Supreme Court arguments and public discussion on the issue. "I have concluded that the right thing to do is to support marriage equality for all," he said.

Donnelly and Heitkamp are the latest Democratic senators to announce their support for gay marriage. On Thursday, Florida Sen. Bill Nelson became the 51st senator to announce support for gay marriage.

Both Donnelly and Heitkamp were elected last year, winning close races in states that were handily carried by GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney. -- AP

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