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)

    Of course, a democrat would misinterpret our lord, or he does not believe in the lord in the first place and it is the usual liberal trash the country dogma.

    April 4, 2013 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  2. Starrface

    Just who are the republican bosses that have such a hold on all the party members any way? These guys need to be fired or made to disappear so the rest of the elected republicans officials can start doing there job. Government should not have anything to do with religion, guy marriage, or any other moral issue. With their current thinking the goof-ball republican party will NEVER win the white house.

    April 4, 2013 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  3. Pete

    I'm glad Sen.Nelson and others are coming around to giving rights to gay people on marriage.It's just too bad the likes of republicans that remain with Micheal Reagan who's own father Ronald would have burned gays at the stake as well as witches because of his meniacal views toward anyone different than him..But that's how America was built on different views from different people and free speech thank God hasn't been curtailed but give republicans time they'll figure a way to do they too won't they!!

    April 4, 2013 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  4. No support

    I have no respect to any senator who sticks their finger in the air to see how people in their area are thinking before doing what is right. North Dakota, South Dakota, Louisiana, Indiana, West Virginia and Arkansas should all be ashamed of their cowardly senators.

    April 4, 2013 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  5. Russ

    if you're going to make a biblical argument, at least have a basic understanding of the Bible.

    there is no mention of prior to the sinful corruption of creation (Gen.3).
    after which, the Word of "the Lord" (as the esteemed senator put it) is abundantly clear: it is a sin.
    being "born that way" is no different than being born with a proclivity to alcoholism or the like.
    it's an effect of the Fall, not something God did.

    April 4, 2013 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  6. Dr Tom

    The forces of prejudice against and blindness to what is morally right are being chipped away slowly but steadily.

    April 4, 2013 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  7. Anom

    No one wants to recognize sin. All may do what is right in their own eyes. God did not make us this way sin corrupted us all. Even me. I don't have a problem with gay unions that is each individual choice. I have a problem with the miss use of the bible. Shame is a mercy but there is no shame anymore.

    April 4, 2013 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  8. Jonline

    Wow. Equality for all.

    April 4, 2013 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  9. Thomas More

    He is only Lord if you obey His word.....Depart from me, He will say – "I never knew you"

    Cain was rejected because he worshiped on his own terms....the Lord judged Aaron's sons because they worshiped their own way.....Americans worship in their way and make God according to their image....

    Jesus loved sinners...enough to call them out of their addictive lifestyles.....repent....

    All Biblical concepts....and now the anti-religious factions can persecute Christians....

    April 4, 2013 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  10. Nuts

    Adam and Eve! That is how it goes!

    April 4, 2013 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  11. andi lee

    What bible has he been reading? Senator, Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed by God!

    April 4, 2013 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  12. Daniel Medrano

    Absolutely, everybody's rights should be upheld. But there is a world of difference between a marriage and a union.
    Legislatures should be more concerned to insure that unions come with benefits following a civil ceremony.
    From time immemorial we are taught to compare apples with apples, etc... Now is the time to apply this lesson.
    A marriage vs a union is the same as an apple vs an orange. They are distinctly two different animals.

    April 4, 2013 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  13. Patrick M.

    He represents my state, unfortunately. He has started serving his third term and when his six years is up, hopefully this will be his last term.

    April 4, 2013 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  14. Name

    What a joke this senator is. People choose who and how they are. Get this moron out of the senate.

    April 4, 2013 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  15. Jeb

    If gay marriage threatens or "redefines" your marriage in any way, you have very serious problems in your marriage that will not be solved by denying your fellow Americans of their fundamental rights.

    April 4, 2013 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  16. PeterGabi

    God made people and animals, why should I discriminate against their civil marriage?

    April 4, 2013 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  17. ToldUSo

    I'm glad he's supporting it now, but I'll give him no credit for jumping on the bandwagon this late in the game. He had his chance to be out front rather than waiting to see which way the wind blows.

    April 4, 2013 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  18. Rob


    I am so sorry that you joined those who are going against written scripture. This country is heading in the wrong direction and obviously, you are not familiar with scripture for you to make such a comment. Some are turning tail against God and his word for various reasons and since your sick comment is looked at as representing the views of Florida you will certainly not get my vote next term.

    Please read Romans I:24-27.

    April 4, 2013 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  19. WDinDallas

    I wouldn't sit next to him in church.

    April 4, 2013 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  20. stretcharms

    screw those conservatives who think there all high and mighty

    April 4, 2013 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  21. imbedded

    Isn't it amazing how the politicians go with the wind,

    April 4, 2013 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  22. BarryO

    And we care what he thinks because? He's supposed to represent everyone in his district, his opinion means squat, except that he will use it instead of the peoples he is supposed to represent.

    April 4, 2013 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  23. John

    Another person that doesn't beleive in God or the bible using God as his reason to endorse an abomination. Even if God had created gays that does not mean its sound lefal practice for the American people to shoe-horn the relationships of people that were born different (though there is no conclusive evidence of that) ┬áinto the marriage laws. These politicians should "come out" about their real God–the almighty dollar.

    April 4, 2013 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  24. RunForTheHills

    Marriage is not a right, and therefore does not need to be equal for all. If marriage were a right, you would not have to ask the State's permission to do it.

    Nothing is a right that you need permission from the State to do.

    April 4, 2013 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  25. Michael

    Flawed reasoning. The Lord also made Murderers, Rapists, Pedophiles, Alcoholics, Drug Addicts, Adulterers. Does that mean we condone those behaviors as well?
    We've bought into the Liberalist viewpoint that you cannot legislate morality. In fact, almost all laws are based off morality. Why is it wrong to kill? Why not let it be survival of the fittest as in the Hunger Games?

    April 4, 2013 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
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