Earlier this week, Florida’s Republican Congressional Delegation was split on the passage of H.B. 8404, titled the “Respect for Marriage” Act. The impetus for the bill is out of fear from left-leaning lawmakers that the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) might overturn the landmark Obergefell v. Hodges case, which struck down marriage laws across the country in 2015.
The bill passed 267-157 with every Democrat voting in favor and numerous Republicans voting for it, including a number of Florida Republicans.
Republicans who voted in favor of it included: Representatives Kat Cammack (R-FL-03), Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL-25), Carlos Gimenez (R-FL-26), Brian Mast (R-FL-18), Maria Elvira Salazar (R-FL-27), and Michael Waltz (R-FL-06).
Some of the names who voted for the bill were surprising, given their typical association with socially conservative causes and groups, including Waltz. Waltz has been a regular guest on Tony Perkins’ Washington Watch show, and Perkins is the president of the Family Research Council, a notably socially conservative and religious organization.
The lawmaking Republicans from Florida who voted against the bill included: Representatives Gus Bilirakis (R-FL-12), Vern Buchanan (R-FL-16), Byron Donalds (R-FL-19), Neal Dunn (R-FL-02), Scott Franklin (R-FL-15), Mat Gaetz (R-FL-01), Bill Posey (R-FL-08), John Rutherford (R-FL-04), Greg Steube (R-FL-17), and Daniel Webster (R-FL-11).
Buchanan viewed the legislation as “entirely unnecessary.”
“The Supreme Court has already ruled on the matter and made clear in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization that its decision should not be ‘misunderstood or mischaracterized’ to ‘cast doubt on precedents that do not concern abortion,” Buchanan said. “Furthermore, the Court warned that such concerns were ‘designed to stoke unfounded fear that our decision will imperil those other rights.'”
Similarly, Steube called it a “total distraction because Democrats know they have nothing else to run on in the midterms.”
Florida Senator Marco Rubio (R) also weighed in on the legislation as it passed, and he announced that he was already opposed to it. Specifically, he called it a “stupid waste of time.”
Rubio’s likely opponent in the 2022 midterm election, Rep. Val Demings (D-FL-10), who voted for the bill, said that voting against the legislation would take America into the past.
“Equality under the law is an American value. We’re going to stand up for freedom and refuse to go back into a discriminatory past,” Demings said in a statement.
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