No. 51: Florida Sen. Nelson Backs Gay Marriage

Democrat's reversal means a majority in Senate now supports it

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Apr 4, 2013 5:57 PM CDT

(Newser) – It's not a huge surprise, but Florida Democrat Bill Nelson has reversed position to declare his support for gay marriage, reports the Tampa Bay Times. "If we are endowed by our Creator with rights, then why shouldn't those be attainable by gays and lesbians?" he wrote in his statement to the paper. Nelson joins a growing list of senators to reverse course on same-sex marriage, but Roll Call notes that his switch his noteworthy because it makes him the 51st senator to do so. That gives proponents a majority in the chamber, although they've got work to do if they want a filibuster-proof 60.

Nelson's decision means only six Senate Democrats remain opposed to gay marriage: Joe Donnelly (Indiana), Heidi Heitkamp (North Dakota), Tim Johnson (South Dakota), Mary Landrieu (Louisiana), Joe Manchin (West Virginia), and Mark Pryor (Arkansas). So far, only Rob Portman and Mark Kirk have switched among Republican senators. And remember, this isn't "flip-flopping," it's "evolving."

Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., arrives at his reelection party in Orlando on Nov. 6, 2012.
Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., arrives at his reelection party in Orlando on Nov. 6, 2012.   (AP Photo/John Raoux)
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