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. Elliott Carlin

    Uh, what part of the definition of marriage don't some people get? It is between a man and a woman and has been so since history has been written. Let them have a civil union, but don't call it marriage. A Honda Accord is not an SUV no matter how many times you call it an SUV.

    Please keep the drama to yourselves. Sheesh.

    April 4, 2013 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
  2. Amadea

    You cannot cite the LORD on one hand and dismiss Him with the other. Well, I guess you can ... for so many are doing it these days. I'd rather run the risk of offending some human being than I would 'tweak' the nose of the Almighty and risk His wrath. Diff'rent strokes, etc.

    April 4, 2013 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |
  3. edmundburkeson

    Democrats dived off the cliff into the abyss of absurdity!!!!!

    April 4, 2013 11:00 pm at 11:00 pm |
  4. Civil unions!

    Civil unions for all! Marroage can only be performed by a religious leader. That's the solution!

    April 4, 2013 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
  5. me

    just like the lord make pshycopaths and pedophiles and serial killers we all deserve everything all no matter the choices we make and what we do. Free love.. Do what you want. Who cares.

    April 4, 2013 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
  6. Randy

    I should be able to marry 2 women and my dog if I want to. It's my equal rights, damn it!

    April 4, 2013 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
  7. beezers

    Simply put, if The Lord made pedophiles as well as zoophiles, why should I discriminate against their civil marriage....

    Mr. Senator, don't invoke God in your misguided interpretation. God's created us all, and we all have different temptations... the question is whether we embrace our sinful natures or embrace the Lord through obedience to His commandments.

    April 4, 2013 11:14 pm at 11:14 pm |
  8. Jean A. Braden

    Obviously this man has not read his Bible...

    April 4, 2013 11:16 pm at 11:16 pm |
  9. plain&simple

    One by one the balance is shifting. This has nothing to do with religion...only the civil rights recognized under the law. Churches will not be forced to marry people. Deal with it the dark ages are coming to an end

    April 4, 2013 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  10. Jim in Florida

    Senator for Life Nelson is bought and paid for by Obama Inc. Another wealthy moron that pollutes DC. He stood by and let Obama dismantle the space program , after cliaming to be its strongest defender. Nelson is in it for Nelson, he and Charlie Crist must be related.

    April 4, 2013 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  11. Sokman

    According to the fairy tale you call the Bible, your "Lord" didn't create man to love man or woman to love woman. Maybe you should get facts straight before mixing politics & religion to forward your own personal liberal agenda

    April 4, 2013 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
  12. MarioLuiggi

    You should not use the Lord's name in vain to justify sinful acts.

    April 4, 2013 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
  13. albie

    the "lord" eh? so this guy announces he is not the sharpest knife right out of the gate by admitting he has the religious dementia

    April 4, 2013 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  14. Sokman

    And since when have presidents & politicians had a say in a supreme court ruling before this administration? Thought there were 3 branches of government for a reason...

    April 4, 2013 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  15. Emily

    YAY! Equality, compassion, and God's love win out again.

    April 4, 2013 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  16. sbul

    The Lord has nothing to do with it. This politician changed his mind because he wants to be re elected.

    April 5, 2013 12:35 am at 12:35 am |
  17. jamessavik

    A southern democrat senator changing his position to pro gay marriage... citing "the lord" as his rationale?

    Never thought I would see that happen.

    April 5, 2013 12:52 am at 12:52 am |
  18. Kman66

    I guess we can say the lord created child molesters and murderers as well, so they too should have equal rights.

    April 5, 2013 01:10 am at 1:10 am |
  19. Getoverit

    Flip flop...

    April 5, 2013 01:33 am at 1:33 am |
  20. Bob1god

    Way to go, Bill, better late than never!

    April 5, 2013 01:50 am at 1:50 am |
  21. greg_in_MI

    Uhmm, lets see, we are all supposed to be equal...then why does Congress get special retirement benefits, or why does Congress get special medical coverage and not Obama-care....lets redefine taxes too – again its an area where some pay and others don't and it always seems to hit the middle class with a greater percentage than others.

    April 5, 2013 02:03 am at 2:03 am |
  22. Leonore H. Dvorkin

    Moving in the right direction, here... Gay marriage is coming for the entire U.S., folks, either now or not long from now. Get used to it! :-)

    April 5, 2013 02:05 am at 2:05 am |
  23. lerianis

    There is no 'Lord', i.e. 'god', in the real world. It's a fantasy made up by powermongers in order to terrify people into adhering to their personal morality.

    April 5, 2013 02:55 am at 2:55 am |
  24. Bob

    Amazing how politicians come out of the woodwork when they realize their jobs are on the line.

    April 5, 2013 03:06 am at 3:06 am |
  25. Sym

    The Lord doesn't create deviants. They are a product of their own lustful perversion.

    April 5, 2013 04:34 am at 4:34 am |
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