Florida’s Senators Vote Against Respect for Marriage Act

This week, the U.S. Senate passed the “Respect for Marriage Act” from U.S. Sen. Diane Feinstein, D-Calif., and U.S. Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-NY, which “would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), enshrine marriage equality for the purposes of federal law, and provide additional legal protections from individuals seeking to undermine marriage equality at the state level.”

The Senate passed the measure on a 62-37 vote as a dozen Republicans joined the Democratic majority in supporting the measure while U.S. Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., who will soon resign to take over as president of the University of Florida, did not vote. Florida Republican U.S. Sens. Marco Rubio and Rick Scott voted against the bill.

“The Senate voted today to advance the Respect for Marriage Act, a bipartisan bill to protect marriage equality I’m leading with Senators Baldwin, Collins and Portman,” Feinstein said on Wednesday. “I’ve championed this bill for years, but its need became more urgent after conservative Supreme Court justices indicated a willingness to revisit longstanding precedents like Obergefell, the court’s decision that protected marriage equality.

“We can’t let the legal rights of married couples and their families be put in jeopardy. Thanks to today’s vote, we’re now on the cusp of removing the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act from the books and ensuring same-sex and interracial marriages remain protected,” she added.

Scott weighed in on why he voted against the proposal.

“I proudly support the gay community in Florida and across the nation and will aggressively fight any attempt to take away the ability for same-sex couples to marry and live their dreams in our great country,” Scott said. “Unfortunately, the bill under consideration by the U.S. Senate does not adequately protect the religious liberties of all Americans, as guaranteed by the Constitution. Thankfully, Senator Mike Lee has an amendment to both codify protections for same-sex marriage into law and maintain ironclad protections for religious liberty. I strongly urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to join me in supporting Senator Lee’s amendment and working together to get this done the right way and with overwhelming support.”

Back in July, the U.S. House passed Nadler’s bill on a 267-157 vote while seven members–all Republicans–did not vote. Every single Democrat in the House voted to pass the measure and they were joined by 47 Republicans.

Every single Democrat in the Florida delegation backed the proposal. Republicans in the Florida delegation split on the vote. U.S. Reps. Kat Cammack, R-Fla., Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fla., Carlos Gimenez, R-Fla, Brian Mast, R-Fla., Maria Elvira Salazar, R-Fla., and Michael Waltz, R-Fla., voted for the proposal. U.S. Reps. Gus Bilirakis, R-Fla., Vern Buchanan, R-Fla., Byron Donalds, R-Fla., Neal Dunn, R-Fla., Scott Franklin, R-Fla., Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., Bill Posey, R-Fla., John Rutherford, R-Fla., Greg Stuebe, R-Fla., and Dan Webster, R-Fla., voted against the proposal.

“Who one loves is not up for debate,” said U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel, D-Fla. “When two adults choose to commit to one another and build their lives together, they should be able to trust that the government will recognize their marriage. When the Supreme Court undermined access to abortion care, they left the door open to prohibiting same-sex and interracial marriages. This bipartisan bill would stop these extreme efforts in their tracks.”

“It’s clear that the Supreme Court has a put a target on the rights of everyday Americans because of their gender, and possibly soon because of their sexual orientation or other aspects of their identity,” said U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Fla. “As champions for our fundamental rights of privacy and the freedoms of everyone in our community to marry the person they love, I am proud to join my colleagues in the House and Senate in repealing the Defense of Marriage Act and once and for all protecting the marriage rights of our LGBTQ+ community. We cannot sit idly by as this radical court erodes our freedoms.”

 

Kevin Derby
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