From our media partners the Sun Sentinel.
Broward County Commissioner Sue Gunzburger is calling U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson to task for his continued opposition to same sex-marriage.
“I’m very disappointed, extremely disappointed, that he doesn’t believe in equal rights for everyone,” Gunzburger said Friday. “People don’t choose how they’re born. It’s what you’re given, like the color of your eyes, the color of your hair or the color of your skin, and just the way we wouldn’t discriminate against people because of the color of their skin we shouldn’t discriminate against people because of their sexual orientation.”
Almost all the 53 Democratic senators have endorsed same-sex marriage, with several voices of support coming as the U.S. Supreme Court considered two gay marriage cases this week. Nelson is one of nine Senate Democrats against same-sex marriage – a position he reiterated this week.
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." - Sen. Nelson
Speaking to reporters Wednesday in Tallahassee, he said he favors civil unions. “My personal preference is that marriage is between a man and a woman.”
Nelson’s press secretary Ryan Brown said Friday this is the senator's statement on the subject: “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."
Gunzburger, one of Broward’s longest-serving elected Democrats, took to Twitter late Thursday night to urge people to contact Nelson to express how they feel about his stand. “Tell Senator Nelson how you feel about him coming out against same-sex marriage. I did!” she wrote.
“If he doesn’t hear from people who feel as I do, and here I am a straight woman who has very strong feelings on this subject, then he doesn’t know how his constituents feel in the state of Florida.
Gunzburger, who has been a county commissioner for since 1992 after 10 years on the Hollywood City Commission, said Nelson’s stand “really makes no sense to me.” The senator is 70, and Gunzburger said she suspects he’ll never run for office again. “Why put yourself out there?”
Gunzburger was married to her husband Gerry for 49 years until his death in 2009. She has a straight daughter and three grandchildren; a gay son who has been with his husband, whom he married in Canada seven years ago, for 26 years; and a lesbian daughter who had a Jewish commitment ceremony with her partner four years ago.
“People choose to marry the one they love… I don’t see how it harms a straight marriage if it’s a same sex marriage. Children who are raised in same-sex, two-parent homes do as well as children in two parent homes,” she said.
Nelson’s position is also at odds with U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Weston, chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee. “Every American should be able to marry the person they love,” she said via Twitter this week.
Broward Democratic Chairman Mitch Ceasar, a supporter of same-sex marriage, declined to comment Friday about Nelson’s stand.
Yet earlier this week Ceasar issued a public call for Broward Republican Chairman Tom Truex to break with his party’s national platform and endorse same-sex marriage. In his letter to Truex, Ceasar said it “is both a legal and a human rights issue. How can we explain to a gay or lesbian veteran of Iraq that they are ‘less’ than a full citizen?”