President Biden’s new ambassador to the Holy See voted in support of former President Obama’s legislative agenda supporting Planned Parenthood and gay marriage when he was a senator, despite formerly coming out against such measures.
Joe Donnelly, who served as a Democratic senator for Indiana from 2013 to 2019, presented his credentials to Pope Francis at the apostolic palace in Vatican City on April 11.
“I look forward to deepening our ties with the Holy See. My family and I are proud to be members of the Catholic faith,” Donnelly said in a video.
“From my childhood, through my college and law school years at the University of Notre Dame, through years of public service in Indiana and Washington, D.C., the Catholic Church has been a core part of my life and my values.”
When he represented Indiana’s 2nd Congressional District from 2007 to 2013, he voted against funding embryonic stem cell research and also strongly opposed abortion funding in the 2010 Affordable Care Act (ACA).
According to National Right to Life, however, Donnelly’s pro-life voting record was just 28%.
Donnelly was known as a moderate Democrat when he served in Congress, but changed his stance on gay marriage in 2013 because it was “the right thing to do,” he said, according to Politico.
When he voted for the ACA, he also backtracked on his position against federal funding for Planned Parenthood, which provides abortions.
“I voted to repeal ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’ and was an original supporter of the bill that would make it illegal to discriminate against someone in the workplace because of their sexual orientation,” he wrote, according to Politico.
“It is also for that reason that I oppose amending either Indiana’s or our nation’s constitution to enshrine in those documents an ‘us’ and a ‘them,’ instead of a ‘we.’ With the recent Supreme Court arguments and accompanying public discussion of same-sex marriage, I have been thinking about my past positions and votes. In doing so, I have concluded that the right thing to do is to support marriage equality for all.”
The ambassador’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Under Pope Benedict XVI, the Holy See vetoed three of former President Barack Obama’s appointed ambassadors because of their abortion views, including Caroline Kennedy.