Sen. Nelson endorses same-sex marriage
April 4th, 2013
05:57 PM ET
8 years 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?"

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"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. Jeremy Suede

    Why does "the lord" have anything to do with his political decisions?

    April 4, 2013 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  2. Harvty

    If you're going to invoke the Lord, don't offend him with your manipulation of Biblical truth. Make your decision and stand by it like a man. Don't hide behind false claims of Christian sentiment.

    April 4, 2013 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  3. Gene Brady

    He's absolutely correct! Above the entrance to the Supreme Court it says, "Justice and equality for all".... this is a no brainer! THAT says it all and due to that, there is no argument against.

    April 4, 2013 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  4. Richard Allen

    I can see more and more politicians changing their stance on gay marriage. Overall, it's true. Why are they not afforded the same rights as everyone else? Their way of life may not be the same as yours, but that doesn't make them any less human. We need to stop bible bashing and realize that we can no longer live by the words of a 2k year old collection of stories. We need to make laws that pertain to the here and now and right now we need to assure that each and every American has the same rights as the next.

    April 4, 2013 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  5. D jones

    Mary Landrieu is scared to death of the Catholic vote in South Louisiana. C'mon Mary, you know you want to; for once put your principles first and quit counting votes.

    April 4, 2013 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  6. Erik

    Let me guess, the same people who were just giving that Republican Senator crap for jumping on the bandwagon (as people on the forums were putting it), are going to praise this guy. Because that's how we do it in America.

    April 4, 2013 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  7. Smoking Gun

    Using Bill Nelson's reasoning, we should also not discriminate against polygamy either. Come on, didn't The Lord create them, too?

    April 4, 2013 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  8. Ed1

    What about Civil Unions I guess that wouldn't work even if they did get the same rights it has to be marriage what a joke.

    April 4, 2013 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  9. Clint

    There's no such thing, therefore said nonexistent thing has no bearing on this issue.

    April 4, 2013 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  10. NorCalMojo

    Another windsock reverses with the winds.

    April 4, 2013 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  11. Ego2gogo

    Even late to the party is good.

    April 4, 2013 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  12. Steve


    That line of logic would then include all aberrant behaviors.

    Pedophiles,Hitler, Saddam, mass murderers, torturers, incestuous fathers, all people.

    What no moral scruples whatsoever?

    April 4, 2013 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  13. rosethornne

    About time.

    April 4, 2013 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  14. JohnnyInSNJ

    Amazing. Everyone develops a conscience right after election season.

    April 4, 2013 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  15. Rickapolis

    How can anyone oppose equality? It's unAmerican to do so.

    April 4, 2013 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  16. Not A Theologian

    He clearly is not a theologian or even well versed in Scripture so he shouldn't even bring God into his decision since he really hasn't.

    April 4, 2013 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  17. Nate

    Ignorance is not bliss. Either follow Christ's teaching or oppose it. But affirming something Scripture condemns and then referring to The Lord as a reason for so doing shows true ignorance!

    April 4, 2013 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  18. ABarker

    God made every living creater. The good and the bad.

    April 4, 2013 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  19. gary douglas

    Nice to see the man come out of the Stone Age, but a bit too little, too late.

    April 4, 2013 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  20. Gary in Tampa

    Thank you Senator Nelson!

    You've won my vote again.

    April 4, 2013 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  21. Hugh Mann

    "civil rights and responsibilities for one must pertain to all."

    April 4, 2013 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  22. Major

    I'll do anything, just don't vote me out of office.

    April 4, 2013 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  23. Det. John Kimball

    One can also argue that God made rapists, pedophiles, and serial killers, it doesn't mean their behavior should be condoned by the State.

    On another note, I think DOMA will be overturned since marriage is a civil matter defined by the states and the Federal Government will be hard pressed to argue that regulation of marriage is within its power. The federal government may assign certain benefits to marriage, but until DOMA had neither defined marriage or the rules governing who was allowed to be married.

    April 4, 2013 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  24. adam

    Cant wait for seperation of church and state. Be great when these archaic, bigoted laws thrown out...
    Government should stay out of consenting adults bedrooms..

    April 4, 2013 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  25. paul

    stupid comment. well then if the lord made murderers why should murderers go to jail?

    April 4, 2013 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
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