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U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida throws his support behind marriage equality

Thursday, April 4, 2013

TAMPA, Fla. — U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida on Thursday joined the chorus of moderate Democrats in reversing his longtime opposition to same-sex marriage, leaving only six remaining Democratic U.S. Senators who have not yet come out in support of marriage equality.

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.)AP

In a statement to the Tampa Bay Times, Nelson wrote, “If The Lord made homosexuals as well as heterosexuals, why should I discriminate against their civil marriage? I shouldn’t, and I won’t.”

“It is generally accepted in American law and U.S. society today ‘… that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.’ I believe that. The civil rights and responsibilities for one must pertain to all.

“Thus, to discriminate against one class and not another is wrong for me.

“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.

“So I will add my name to the petition of senators asking the Supreme Court to declare the law that prohibits gay marriage unconstitutional.”

Nelson becomes the 51th U.S. senator to throw his support behind same-sex marriage. Forty-six other Democrats, two independents who caucus with Democrats and two Republicans have previously announced their support for marriage equality.

With Nelson’s announcement, there remains only six Senate Democrats who still publicly oppose same-sex marriage; they are: Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Tim Johnson of South Dakota, Mark Pryor of Arkansas, and Joe Donnelly of Indiana.

On Tuesday, GOP Sen. Mark Kirk of Illinois became only the second Republican in the U.S. Senate besides Ohio Sen. Rob Portman to publicly support same-sex marriage.

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18 more reader comments:

  1. yay! equality!

    Posted on Thursday, April 4, 2013 at 3:38pm
  2. Thanks, Bill

    Posted on Thursday, April 4, 2013 at 3:41pm
  3. OK, good news from you, thank you.

    Posted on Thursday, April 4, 2013 at 3:46pm
  4. Thanks, Bill@!!!

    Posted on Thursday, April 4, 2013 at 3:47pm
  5. Thank you Senator Nelson!

    Posted on Thursday, April 4, 2013 at 3:48pm
  6. Thank you Senator!!

    Posted on Thursday, April 4, 2013 at 3:51pm
  7. i would rather see a better balance of positive news here than the negative..which draws out a lot of negative poison from others

    Posted on Thursday, April 4, 2013 at 3:52pm
  8. I don’t trust or believe for one minute that any of these homophobes are truly supporting us for any reason other than their own interests. But Nelson? Bitch,please! I used to live in Florida,for years,and he was and is the most rabid virulent hater of the pack. The man is not to be trusted, even more so than any of them are to be.

    Posted on Thursday, April 4, 2013 at 3:55pm
  9. Thank you for your support!

    Posted on Thursday, April 4, 2013 at 3:56pm
  10. I knew he would. It was only a matter of time!

    Posted on Thursday, April 4, 2013 at 4:08pm
  11. The right side of history is best! Thank you

    Posted on Thursday, April 4, 2013 at 4:08pm
  12. Better late than never, Senator. Thanks!

    Posted on Thursday, April 4, 2013 at 4:10pm
  13. check out my sketch and tell me what you think! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LRmNES4OdsI

    Posted on Thursday, April 4, 2013 at 4:26pm
  14. Thank you for your support

    Posted on Thursday, April 4, 2013 at 4:42pm
  15. This is great! Just a few more Democrats to go…

    Posted on Thursday, April 4, 2013 at 7:09pm
  16. Welcome aboard the equality train Sen. Nelson!

    Posted on Thursday, April 4, 2013 at 8:39pm
  17. OMG Florida, really !

    Posted on Thursday, April 4, 2013 at 8:51pm
  18. Thank you Bill!

    Posted on Thursday, April 4, 2013 at 9:37pm