Sen. Nelson endorses same-sex marriage
April 4th, 2013
05:57 PM ET
1 year ago

Sen. Nelson endorses same-sex marriage

(CNN) - Florida Sen. Bill Nelson on Thursday joined a recent wave of Democratic senators announcing their support for same sex marriage, reversing his position on the issue and telling a Florida newspaper the "civil rights and responsibilities for one must pertain to all."

His statement to The Tampa Bay Times quoted the Declaration of Independence and asked, "If we are endowed by our Creator with rights, then why shouldn't those be attainable by Gays and Lesbians?"

"Simply put, if The Lord made homosexuals as well as heterosexuals, why should I discriminate against their civil marriage? I shouldn't, and I won't," he wrote.

Nelson becomes the last Democrat not elected from a conservative-leaning state to endorse same-sex marriage. There are six Democrats in the Senate who have not endorsed same-sex marriage. Those six are Sens. Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Tim Johnson of South Dakota, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Mark Pryor of Arkansas.

The Supreme Court heard oral arguments last week in two cases on the issue, including a challenge to the federal Defense of Marriage Act that defines marriage as between a man and a woman.

Nelson said he will join "the petition of senators asking the Supreme Court to declare the law that prohibits gay marriage unconstitutional."

He was elected last year to his third term in the U.S. Senate.

There are currently two Republican senators, Rob Portman of Ohio and Mark Kirk of Illinois in the body who support same-sex marriage.

– CNN's Paul Steinhauser and Gregory Wallace contributed to this report


Filed under: Bill Nelson • Florida • Same-sex marriage
soundoff (169 Responses)
  1. SantaAna

    Senator-you are attempting to speak for the Almighty-people mess up-He doesn't' choose abnormal behavior-people do that all by themselves...

    April 4, 2013 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  2. ShawnDH

    It's nice that Sen. Nelson has morally and intellectually grown up, but I really wish people would realize their personal religious views are totally, 100% irrelevant to equality under the law in the 21st-century United States.

    April 4, 2013 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  3. sg

    a marriage should be between a man and a woman. we do not have a say in it. you cannot say a man and a man and a woman and a woman are the same as a man and a woman.

    April 4, 2013 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  4. JerryT

    God save this country from the democrats and their astounding liberal viewpoints that have already caused irreparable damage.

    April 4, 2013 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  5. Pan3

    Thank you Senator Nelson!

    April 4, 2013 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  6. Tacitus Talks

    Idiotic logic. He also made cobras and great white sharks – what does that have to do with anything. He made pedophiles, serial killers, thieves, drunkards, and liars – so what?

    April 4, 2013 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  7. skarphace

    "Simply put, if The Lord made [gays] as well as [straight people], why should I discriminate against their civil marriage? I shouldn't, and I won't," wrote Sen. Nelson.

    In other words, you made the right decision for the wrong reasons. Faith is not a requirement of a civil marriage.

    April 4, 2013 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  8. Joey Isotta-Fraschini©™

    Whatever Senator Nelson's reasoning was, he arrived at the right decision.

    April 4, 2013 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  9. Light In The Dark

    Since 1969 Stonewall,
    the bricks have been crumbling one brick at at time.
    The wall is almost gone.
    Its not over.
    But it feels better.
    Dont give up the fight just yet.

    To all of those on the right side of history,
    Thank you.

    April 4, 2013 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  10. j

    God made hell too, senator... Read Romans chapter 1

    April 4, 2013 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  11. McBob79

    This guy is a piece of work. Only out for himself. This is all about re-election.

    April 4, 2013 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  12. More Better

    How does he feel about plural marriage? Everyone deserves the right to love an marry whoever they choose!

    April 4, 2013 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  13. Tam

    how about thinking for yourself, and being a normal human being kind to others

    thank goodness he listened to the Lord this time

    April 4, 2013 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  14. JD

    Religion should not be used to debate politics in the first place. End of story. If it were not for religious bigots, this issue would not still exist.

    April 4, 2013 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  15. sib

    done and lost the mind-

    April 4, 2013 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  16. Lane

    This person obviously IS NOT an enlightened true follower of Jesus Christ.

    April 4, 2013 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  17. treblemaker

    boom, boom, boom–another one bites the dust.

    April 4, 2013 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  18. Debbie

    God doesn't make our choices in life for us. He lets us. Marriage is clearly defined as being a union of one man and one woman. If the world was all gay, people would be extinct within 100 years. They cannot reproduce. Common sense. All senators, representatives and any other elected government official that backs gay marriage should be voted out. They will answer to God. Of whom do they fear, God or man?

    April 4, 2013 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  19. joe

    desperate politics to obtain votes

    April 4, 2013 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  20. proskater

    its been a long battle, but hopefully the people of this country will do the right thing. then we can finally focus on the many other, more pressing issues our nation is facing. seems silly we have to figh to get married in the first place. what a waste of energy from our nation's conservatives. :(

    April 4, 2013 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  21. Anonymous

    yes,,god, make a man ,woman to,get married

    April 4, 2013 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  22. Anonymous

    Just like a politician. Stick his finger in the wind and come to a "principled" decision. Oh brother...These guys will do anything to jump a bandwagon.

    April 4, 2013 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  23. Patrish

    Yeah, that's my senator! Way to go Mr. Nelson!!!

    April 4, 2013 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  24. VCMD

    God also made lot of other species and all species have the right to Wed!

    April 4, 2013 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  25. rafael

    It seems like sub-par journalism for CNN to use a headline like "Lord cited..." Or is this now a religious rag?

    April 4, 2013 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
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