Nelson attributes his change of stance to religion and a support for civil rights
Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida has reversed his stance on gay marriage as support for the issue is growing among Democrat senators.“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 declares.
NY Daily News writes that only six members of the Senate Democratic Caucus are left opposing marriage equality at the moment.
That leaves Sen. Mark Pryor of Arkansas, Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, West Virginia's Joe Manchin, Louisiana's Mary Landrieu, and South Dakota's Tim Johnson standing against gay unions.
On Thursday, Nelson issued a statement to the Tampa Bay Times citing religion as his motivation for embracing LGBT unions.
“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.
“(T)o 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 [the LGBT community],” he says.
Politico notes that Nelson has expressed an opposing view on the matter just last week. As the Supreme court started hearing arguments on Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act, the Senator described marriage as an act involving a man and a woman.
“I have always stood up for the civil rights of all people and will continue to do so, including civil unions. My personal preference is that marriage is between a man and a woman,” he said.