Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) became the latest member of the Senate to endorse same-sex marriage today, pushing the number of senators who support marriage equality to 51.
In a statement to the Tampa Bay Times, Nelson said his reversal on same-sex marriage was a product of his faith:
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.
There are now only six Democratic senators who have not voiced their support for same-sex marriage: Sens. Joe Donnelly (Ind.), Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.), Tim Johnson (S.D.), Mary Landrieu (La.), Joe Manchin (W.Va.) and Mark Pryor (Ark.). On the other side of the aisle, only Republican Sens. Rob Portman (Ohio) and Mark Kirk (Ill.) have endorsed marriage equality.
[Photo: Bill Nelson (Courtesy of the U.S. Senate)]