Sen. Nelson endorses same-sex marriage
April 4th, 2013
05:57 PM ET
7 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?"

"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. Lindsey

    Nelson always tried to masquerade as a conservative Democrat but now he can't hide! His true colors have finally been revealed to the people of Florida!

    April 4, 2013 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  2. Publius99

    Ok, so why shouldn't gay marriage be allowed? Why is it that marriage (gay or straight) is only allowed for TWO people? If marriage is just a contract, why can't people enter into more than one contract with others at the same time, why is it limited to two? Why can't Mormons marry more than one person? Why can't people marry dogs if they really love them? Could it be the New Testament imperative for a husband to only be joined to one wife?

    April 4, 2013 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  3. tony

    So that must mean the bible is wrong then. . . .

    April 4, 2013 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  4. McLovin

    CNN singles out the 6 Democratic Senators that are against gay marriage? Really CNN. Is it not OK to have a different opinion these days?

    April 4, 2013 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  5. Chris

    May I ask, which Lord are you referring to?

    April 4, 2013 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  6. smuzer

    desperate for votes.

    April 4, 2013 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  7. guest

    Calm down folks!! Its not flip flopping because he is a dem, which means that he has "evolved" his stance.

    April 4, 2013 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  8. Mariposa

    There goes the Christian country I grew up in.

    April 4, 2013 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  9. Dave

    If you're going to quote the "Lord" as a defense for your statement, maybe you should actually READ what He has said on the topic!!!! Especially those entire verses that call it a sin as are many other things. Sin is sin. Don't quote the "Lord" as a defense for you caving into to atheism / liberalism. Of course, the rest of us know who your 'lord' is. Fortunately, G od is still on the throne and has already had the final word. Unfortunately, the mighty U. s. (that I love evidently more that 99.9% of our politicians) isn't mentioned in the last days prophecies along side I srael, I ran, R ussia, i slam, D amascus, the EU, C hina, etc. Maybe the reason is because we become irrelevant because of our implosion. Hopefully it's not because of our annihilation. S odom and G omorrha were decimated after all.

    April 4, 2013 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  10. david

    States should change laws replace marriage with civil union. church says what marriage is. state says who may enter civil union. what rights. duties etc.

    April 4, 2013 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  11. us_1776

    Next up. Legalizing marijuana and putting a dagger in the heart of the drug cartels.


    April 4, 2013 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  12. gregor1971

    What about the tens of thousands who were straight, then gay, then straight again? Are we to assume that God made them that way, or they were just confused?

    April 4, 2013 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  13. Name lynn

    Bill nelson in the holy bible says god gave man to write the words in, the bible says god hates sins an the lord made man an women. Not to men an two women. If you dont know the bible please let it out.

    April 4, 2013 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  14. JT

    If anyone thinks God is against the love of two people, regardless of their gender, based on a book written by men, they should seriously question who they're worshiping.

    April 4, 2013 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  15. Scott

    God made jihadists, too. So?

    April 4, 2013 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  16. Jeff

    politicians. as long as they remain in the 1%, do you actually believe they care what side they take on ANY issue?

    April 4, 2013 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  17. nothing new here

    Thank you, sir.
    Civil liberties for ALL Americans.

    April 4, 2013 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  18. rich

    I thought that he was quitting after this term. Guess maybe not.

    April 4, 2013 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  19. god....

    God is good for anything I want to say. I mean.. I'm glad he changed his vote, but I'm tired of the "god rationale" on every issue. It clearly means anything and therefore, nothing.

    April 4, 2013 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  20. optimistmiser

    Since politicians are wrong more often than they are right this sudden wave of political pandering/support is not at all convincing.

    April 4, 2013 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  21. factoidlover

    Glad for the support and it is refreshing the source of the authority was the Declaration rather than the Bible (a bit of a stretch, but nice anyway).

    April 4, 2013 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  22. j

    Which lord? Lord Byron? Lord Balthezera? Who is he talking about?

    April 4, 2013 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  23. Peter Knight

    What a bunch of hypocrites. The LORD is the vote bank.

    April 4, 2013 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  24. Rod

    Zero logic to that argument. That is like saying "If the Lord made pedophiles they should ....." which is obvious rubbish. More likely the honest truth is "I'd like to jump on the bandwagon if it helps me be popular and get re elected."

    April 4, 2013 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  25. Nuts

    What is wrong with man and women being together? Nothing! Man with man or women with women,that is sick!!

    April 4, 2013 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
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