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Donnelly splits with Obama on same-sex marriage

Tom Lobianco

U.S. Senate candidate Joe Donnelly reiterated his position Thursday that marriage should be between a man and a woman, saying he didn't feel pressure to change his views a day after fellow Democrat President Barack Obama said he supported same-sex marriage.

The Indiana congressman said he isn't letting the issue distract him from his work in Congress or in his campaign. Donnelly said he is singularly focused on job creation and cited some of the blue-collar towns around the state that have been struggling.

"Every day I wake up in the morning and say how can we put another family to work in Anderson," he said. "That's what I think is important."

The National Republican Senatorial Committee had called on Donnelly earlier in the day to state his views on gay marriage. Republican campaign officials hope that Obama's new stance will make it more difficult for Democrats to attract moderate voters in conservative-leaning states like Indiana.

Indiana's law banning gay marriage was approved in 1996. Some lawmakers are pushing for a referendum that would allow voters to decide in 2014 whether to amend the Indiana Constitution to restrict marriage to between one man and one woman.

Donnelly will face Republican State Treasurer Richard Mourdock, who also opposes allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry, in the Senate race.

Former Democratic Party Chairman Kip Tew said Donnelly's position should help him distance himself from Obama and win over independent and Republican voters in November.

Tew said that even if Donnelly's position disappoints supporters of same-sex marriage, it wouldn't be enough to dampen their enthusiasm fighting against the Mourdock, who has tea-party backing.

"I think that Mourdock took care of those problems for him," he said. "I think there's going to be plenty of enthusiasm because Democrats really don't like Richard Mourdock."

The Associated Press