Tom Carper now supports same-sex marriage, Bill Nelson still doesn't

The six other Democrats are West Virginia's Joe Manchin, Indiana's Joe Donnelly, Louisiana's Mary Landrieu, Arkansas' Mark Pryor, North Dakota's Heidi Heitkamp and South Dakota's Tim Johnson.


Of those six, Pryor and Landrieu are up for re-election in 2014.


On March 30, the Tampa Tribune's William March wrote a story titled "Nelson under pressure on gay marriage." In response to the piece, a spokesman for Nelson said, "I've always stood up for civil rights and I support civil unions, but I believe the institution of marriage is between a man and a woman."


It's not hard to see Nelson ultimately changing his position on the issue, but there are quite a few reasons why he won't be pressured to do so.


Think about it: He was easily re-elected last year, meaning he doesn't have to worry about it being a campaign issue from any particular group, and he's not going to run for governor next year. So could it become a problem? As of now, only Equality Florida has directed voters to contact him, saying "it is time to get on the right side of history."


At 70, Bill Nelson's definitely old-school. Undoubtedly, the last U.S. demographic comfortable on changing the definition of "traditional marriage" is the elderly. But Nelson has been a solid supporter of President Obama's signature issues like the stimulus and the Affordable Care Act. With so much of the party now supporting this issue (Hillary Clinton joined the ranks last week), how long before he decides to say the heck with tradition and throw his lot with his supporters?

On Facebook Tuesday morning, Tom Carper became the latest Democratic senator to announce his support for same-sex marriage.

"All Americans ultimately should be free to marry the people they love and intend to share their lives with, regardless of their sexual orientation," he wrote on his Facebook page. "That's why today, after a great deal of soul searching, I'm endorsing marriage equality."

Carper's announcement wasn't the biggest of today's news cycle as more attention has been directed toward Illinois Republican Senator Mark Kirk's change of position on the issue. Kirk is only the second Republican senator to support marriage equality (Ohio's Rob Portman was the first).

With Pennsylvania's Bob Casey announcing his support of same-sex marriage on Monday, there are now only seven Democratic senators who still believe that marriage is between a man and a woman, and one of those seven is Florida's Bill Nelson.

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