BY CHET BROKAW, ASSOCIATED PRESS
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. -- South Dakota Sen. Tim Johnson, who announced his retirement last month, has reversed his position on gay marriage, saying Monday that he supports the legalization of same-sex unions.
The 66-year-old Democrat has said for years that he doesn't support gay marriage, and he voted for the 1996 federal law that defined marriage as the union of a man and woman and provided that a state did not have to recognize same-sex marriages from other states.
"After lengthy consideration, my views have evolved sufficiently to support marriage equality legislation," Johnson said in a written statement. "This position doesn't require any religious denomination to alter any of its tenets; it simply forbids government from discrimination regarding who can marry whom."
His announcement leaves three Senate Democrats who have not come out in support of federal efforts to legalize gay marriage: Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Mark Pryor of Arkansas and Joe Manchin of West Virginia. Landrieu and Pryor are up for re-election next year in their Republican-leaning states.