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. Harleigh Kiffer

    Bill Nelson, the man that is all things to all of us here in Florida. Just depends on who is bringing the pressure.. About time that he learns to make a decision and stick with it and not be afraid of losing contributions.

    April 5, 2013 05:18 am at 5:18 am |
  2. Harpomatt

    WWJD – probably laugh, at least inside, at everyones misunderstanding of what is really important in the world. Just as he did in his time. Funny that he never really talked much about discrimination or government oppression or equal rights etc etc etc.....but he did say feed the hungry by feeding the hungry, and he did say heal the sick by healing the sick, and he did say love the unlovable by visiting with them and eating with them..........

    April 5, 2013 07:26 am at 7:26 am |
  3. Illeagle-j1

    Who really cares what Jesus would do that was 2000 years ago. What is right has nothing to do with religion. The right to marry someone to whom your commited to should be a fact, that does not need to be argued. Nothing more need be said.

    April 5, 2013 07:47 am at 7:47 am |
  4. Texas

    I guess being late to the party is better than not coming at all.

    April 5, 2013 07:47 am at 7:47 am |
  5. Jim

    God didn't make people gay, they chose to go down that road all themselves. God has actually stated clearly in the Bible in the N/OT that this choice is a sin.

    April 5, 2013 07:51 am at 7:51 am |
  6. mattski

    I'm guessing Jesus would tell us to treat others with love. That was his only rule.

    April 5, 2013 08:04 am at 8:04 am |
  7. maximusvad

    What's going on here...some are evolving...some are not....their parties future is at hand I guess.

    April 5, 2013 08:11 am at 8:11 am |
  8. Messenger

    Are you kidding me? "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 is a moron! God didn't create homosexuals. Yes, I do believe they were born that way, at least most of them. However, It's not what God intended. According to the book of Genesis, God created man to be with women. Even the laws of nature say that man and women are to be together. They are born that way because of a genetic propensity. That genetic propensity however was orinally brought on and created by man's sin over many years. Don't blame God for creating sin Mr.Nelson.

    April 5, 2013 08:12 am at 8:12 am |
  9. Dave Rayner

    What an utterly stupid comment Bill! You are my senator, so act like it. The Lord made people, correct. He gave them a free will and they make their choices.

    April 5, 2013 08:12 am at 8:12 am |
  10. John Illinois

    "What would Jesus do"? He would condemn it! God already said it is wrong so CNN is using a ridiculous link name to push the liberal gay agenda!

    April 5, 2013 08:12 am at 8:12 am |
  11. Evangenital

    Equality is right. Don't feed me the lord crap. The bible is a fairy tale book and we should not be using it in anything.

    April 5, 2013 08:18 am at 8:18 am |
  12. management101

    Simply put, the Lord made all of us. But he doesn't really like everything we do.

    April 5, 2013 08:28 am at 8:28 am |
  13. Rudy NYC

    The right wing does not believe in the 1st Amendment. They see government as a tool to be used to spread heir word, and to enforce their own Sharia Laws.

    April 5, 2013 08:28 am at 8:28 am |
  14. SMJ

    One of the BEST Senators Florida has ever had. So thankful and proud of his service. Now, we just need to get rid of Scott and Rubio and get my native state back from being the laughing stock of the nation...Flori-DUH! BTW, Jesus never spoke of homosexuality. The Bible was written by MAN...and humans make opinions and mistakes. Jesus did speak of not judging and loving one another. Religious bigots ruin Christianity.

    April 5, 2013 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
  15. Rudy NYC

    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.
    What does The Bible have to do with the laws of the United States? The 1st Amendment says that governmetn should not show preference to any religion. Christian theocraccy is what they revolted against. Furthermore, "freedom OF religion" also means "freedom FROM religion."

    April 5, 2013 08:38 am at 8:38 am |
  16. kim

    It's about EQUALITY, not individual religious beliefs, not individual moral beliefs. For all who are AGAINST gay marriage, it has absolutley nothing to do with you, will not effect you in any way. Yet you want the government to step in and make laws about your personal feelings and beliefs, and strip a human being of equal rights.
    What if the gay people of the country tried the same for marriages between man/woman, just because it's different from how they feel?

    April 5, 2013 08:40 am at 8:40 am |
  17. Al-NY,NY

    awwww.....poor tightie righties getting their bloomers all in a bunch... You are losing the fight. You can see it but you still cling to your outdated mindset. Too bad for you. Good for the rest of the thinking people around here

    April 5, 2013 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  18. Lisa

    "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." <– So, the crime of judging others won't bring his wrath? Isn't He supposed to do the judging upon arrival into heaven? Wouldn't that then leave people obligated to treat all others equally?

    April 5, 2013 08:45 am at 8:45 am |
  19. clevercandi


    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?

    Hello, Steve

    none of the things you mentioned include two consenting adults. the fed has NO RIGHT to prevent "two consenting adults" from the right to marry. just has the fed has NO RIGHT to tell ANY ADULT what they may/may not do to their own bodies.

    April 5, 2013 08:50 am at 8:50 am |
  20. Jeebusss

    I don't know, what would the Tooth Fairy do? Equally valid question.

    April 5, 2013 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  21. Rudy NYC

    If your fellow church do not want to conduct gay marriages in your church, then don't. If you don't want people telling you that you must conduct gay marriages in your church, then stop telling people that they cannot conduct them elsewhere. It's as simple as that. Don't be hypocrites. Your job is to spread the word, not to enforce it or smear it in people's faces.

    April 5, 2013 08:57 am at 8:57 am |
  22. Johnny 5

    The Gospel of Judas has some indications that Jesus may have been gay. With that being said, Jesus would have been just fine with same-sex marriage.

    April 5, 2013 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  23. John

    You can't use religion as a reson to deny certain groups of citizens rights. You can believe and do whatever yiou like but the government must not get involved in religion and make their decisions based on equality for all tax paying citizens.
    If the only argument the anti gay marriage side has is religion then I am afraid you're dead in the water. If you want a government run by religion then move to Iran.

    April 5, 2013 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  24. GOP = Greed Over People

    Need we point out, that the Holy Book of Fables, also, advocates incest as long as it "preserves father's seed" AND produces great "chri$tian" leaders? Seems I remember a parable about a man named Lot. Had something to do with a cave and perceived "end of days". Guess that means incest is cool, as long as it is instigated by the children?

    Are all you thumpers really ready to go down that path of quoting condemnation AND advocation from the Holy Book of Fables???

    April 5, 2013 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  25. MG

    Jesus would be single with a Facebook account living in sin nowadays. He would prob. say "what is all of this worship stuff??"

    April 5, 2013 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
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