Florida Sen. Bill Nelson (D) now supports marriage equality.
Nelson, who last week insisted marriage should be between a man and a woman, said he concluded that stance was inconsistent with the beliefs embedded in the Declaration of Independence.
“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,” he said in a statement to Tampa Bay Times editorial board.”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.”
He is now the fifty-first U.S. senator — of whom two are Republicans — to support it. It’s not like it carries a lot of political risk for him; he was re-elected last fall fairly comfortably over tea partier Connie Mack IV (a name that reminds me more of a yacht than a person), and he’s more of the old school Democrats like John Glenn than the newer hipper progressives. (Hardly surprising; Mr. Nelson once flew in the space shuttle.)
But let us not be churlish. Welcome to the party, Senator.