Tester Explains Support of Gay Marriage to Huffington Post

By Beacon Staff

Two days after announcing that he now supports gay marriage, Sen. Jon Tester explained in an interview the reasoning behind his evolving views on the issue.

Tester told the Huffington Post Thursday morning that his decision to publicly support gay marriage was driven by personal interactions with gay couples in Montana. The senator joins a growing list of politicians to change their position on the issue. The Huffington Post article describes Tester’s show of support as “one of the more unexpected, owing to his gruff public persona and the political leanings of his home state.”

“I just think it’s time. You know, I spent most of my life – and I’m 56 years of age – on a farm 12 miles west of Big Sandy,” Tester said during an interview on HuffPost Live. “And over the last six years for sure, and some time before that, I’ve gotten to know a lot of different people, a lot of folks that I normally wouldn’t know, and found them all to be good and I respect [them]. So I guess it’s broadening the horizons that I had before that’s gotten me to this point.

“I think it’s just the people you run into, the people you meet, the goodness in people and the example they set,” Tester continued. “And it just kind of takes away a lot of the stereotypes that were in my head and I got to a point where, you know, I asked myself as a policymaker, as a U.S. senator, is it right that I should be denying somebody the right of happiness? And it wasn’t and that’s why we made a decision.”

The article goes on to say that Tester’s decision was also driven in part by “libertarian-type skepticism of federal government overreach.”

“I really think that people’s right to happiness shouldn’t be dictated by some policymaker in Washington, D.C.,” he said. “I’ve come to know a lot of people that –- sexual orientation is such where they’re in love with people from the same sex, and I just don’t think it’s our role in the government to say no you can’t be married. They love one another just as much as my wife and I love one another or more. And I think it’s important that we give them that ability to be happy.”

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