U.S. Senator Max Baucus of Montana has renounced his previous stance and now supports a repeal of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).
Baucus voted in favor of DOMA along with the overwhelming majority of Congress when the law was passed in 1996.
The 70-year-old Baucus, who began his Senate career in 1978, announced his endorsement after Montana Democrats at their state convention last weekend endorsed gay nuptials.
Democrats unanimously voted to alter their party’s platform to include the following passage: “We support repealing Section 7, Article 13 of the Montana Constitution. All adults should have the right to legally marry another adult of their choice, regardless of sex or gender. We believe same-sex spouses should have the same legal benefits, protections and responsibilities granted to all those who marry.”
Baucus released the following statement: “I don’t believe the federal government should be getting involved in people’s private lives. Adults should be free to choose who they spend their lives with a committed relationship.”
This stance was echoed by Democratic nominee for governor Attorney General Steve Bullock who, through campaign manager Kevin O’Brien, said, “Equality is something we should work for, and Steve is proud that Democrats are leading.”
Montana voters passed a constitutional amendment in 2004 banning same-sex marriage.
Around 140 House lawmakers back the federal Respect for Marriage Act that would repeal DOMA, while over 31 lawmakers have backed the measure in the Senate.