The nomination was approved by a vote of 94 to 3.
Kerry, 69, a Massachusetts Democrat who has served in the Senate since 1985, is a decorated Vietnam veteran and the 2004 Democratic presidential candidate.
He had strong support on both sides of the aisle. Earlier in the day, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the panel he has led for the past four years, gave his nomination unanimous approval.
Kerry, who supports marriage equality for same-sex couples, has consistently scored 100 percent on HRC’s Congressional Scorecard and taken the lead on issues such as repealing the HIV travel ban and addressing the needs of LGBT runaway and homeless youth.
Kerry could be sworn in as early as Wednesday — he succeeds Hillary Rodham Clinton, whose last day at the State Department is Friday.