And then there were six: Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida on Thursday offered his support for same-sex marriage in a statement to the Tampa Bay Times:
"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?"
Nelson's announcement makes him the eleventh senator in the past month to reverse their stance on the issue, and represents the 51st in the 100-person chamber to come out in favor of allowing gays and lesbians to wed. With Nelson's reversal, that leaves only six of his current Democratic colleagues in the Senate on the other side of the fence:
- Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia. Up for re-election in 2018.
- Sen. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota. Up for re-election in 2018.
- Sen. Joe Donnelly of Indiana. Up for re-election in 2018.
- Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana. Up for re-election in 2014.
- Sen. Mark Pryor of Arkansas. Up for re-election in 2014.
- Sen. Tim Johnson of South Dakota. Won't run for re-election in 2014.
On the other side of the aisle, only Ohio Sen. Rob Portman and Illinois Sen. Mark Kirk have come out in favor of gay marriage. Alaska's Lisa Murkowski, meanwhile, suggested last month that she's still "evolving" on the issue.