Note: you can watch today’s Senate debate and possible vote on the Respect for Marriage Act on C-Span, here, starting at 10 a.m.
The U.S. Senate on Wednesday voted 62 to 37 to move ahead with a historic bill that would give federal protection to same-sex mariage, with 12 Republican senators joining Democrats to overcome the 60-vote threshold for a filibuster.
Both of Florida’s Republican senators, Marco Rubio and Rick Scott, voted against the measure.
The cloture vote was a key step to enact the Respect for Marriage Act, which would repeal the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act and ensure respect for State regulation of marriage. A vote on the measure itself is scheduled for today, with debate on the bill resuming this morning. Passage would signal a rare instance of bi-partisanship in a riven Congress and result in an extraordinary milestone for same-sex marriage in the United States.
The U.S, Supreme Court ruled the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional in 2013, essentially legalizing gay marriage. But proponents and defenders of gay marriage were concerned by signals from a more conservative Supreme Court that the precedent could be overturned the way Roe v. Wade was last June.
U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler, a New York Democrat and one of the House’s more liberal members, introduced the Respect for Marriage Act in mid-July. The measure, H.R.8404, cleared the House on July 19 on a 267-157 vote. In a surprise, 47 Republicans joined 220 Democrats, giving life to a bill that had been considered dead on arrival because of an evenly split Senate.
Among the surprises: Rep. Mike Waltz, the Republican who represents Flagler County, was among the six Florida Republicans breaking with their colleagues to vote for it.
The move among many Republicans to support same-sex marriage reflects a momentous shift in public opinion. According Gallup polling, only 27 percent of respondents agreed in 1996 that same-sex marriage should be recognized by law as equally as “traditional” marriage. That was the year when the Republican-majority Congress passed–and Bill Clinton signed–the Defense of Marriage Act, which allowed states not to recognize gay marriages from other states. (In March 2013, as the Supreme Court was considering that law, Clinton in an OpEd in the Washington Post admitted his mistake and posed the question before the justices: “whether it is consistent with the principles of a nation that honors freedom, equality and justice above all, and is therefore constitutional. As the president who signed the act into law, I have come to believe that DOMA is contrary to those principles and, in fact, incompatible with our Constitution.”)
Well before the Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision for legalization, public opinion was moving in favor of same-sex marriage, with approval–according to Gallup–rising past the 50 percent mark before the court’s decision and rising more rapidly after that. In May, approval stood at 71 percent, a record. “Rising national support for legal same-sex marriage reflects steady increases among most subgroups of the population, even those who have traditionally been the most resistant to gay marriage,” Gallup reported. “Adults aged 65 and older, for example, became mostly supportive in 2016 — as did Protestants in 2017 and Republicans in 2021.” The holdouts were regular church-goers, among whom only 40 percent are in support, compared to 82 percent for those who never attend church.
The measure itself must now win Senate passage, then return to the House for another vote before going to President Joe Biden for his signature.
Rubio called the bill a “waste of our time on a non-issue” when asked about it by a reporter in July. “States decide marriage laws, they always have,” he told Business Insider. “It’s why you can get married in Las Vegas by an Elvis impersonator in two hours.” Rubio is on the right wing of the Republican Party, with Scott further to the right.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, Scott explained his No vote this way: ““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. 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.”
Scott and Rubio are supportive of an amendment to the bill by Utah Republican Mike Lee he calls the “First Amendment Defense Act,” originally introduced in 2015. The amendment allows individuals to define marriage as only the union or a woman and a man, would allow those individuals to act accordingly and discriminate against those who don’t follow that definition–by, for example, denying service to gay couples–and would prohibit the federal government from taking action against such discrimination. The amendment, in sum, legalizes discrimination as long as it is in accordance with religious or moral beliefs.
“What an individual or organization believes about the traditional definition of marriage is not – and should never be – a part of the government’s decision-making process when distributing licenses, accreditations, or grants,” Lee said of the Act in 2018. “And the First Amendment Defense Act simply ensures that this will always be true in America – that federal bureaucrats will never have the authority to require those who believe in the traditional definition of marriage to choose between their living in accordance with those beliefs and maintaining their occupation or their tax status.”
The ACLU says the “disingenuously titled” bill “would open the door to unprecedented taxpayer-funded discrimination against LGBT people, single mothers, and unmarried couples.”
deborah s mott says
And Floridians want these two to represent them – unbelievable!
R. S. says
Well, Floridians also voted for the guy who wants none in school to say “Gay!”
Patricia Redd says
That’s been debunked. Read the bill. Nowhere does it say “Don’t say gay”. The bill ensures that parents have a say in their childrens’ education. Something that the majority of voters both Democrat and Republican agree with. Sad how the left’s misinformation spreads so easily to misinformed voters. Do your research.
The commenter is misinformed. Parents have always had a say in their children’s education. The bill, while not explicitly using the phrase “don’t say gay,” prohibits discussion of gender and sexuality, a prohibition specifically aimed at LGBTQ themes, since there are no such prohibitions about anyone discussing or using materials or showing pictures of, say, husbands and wives, as long as the “traditional” version of such relationships is understood. The claim that the bill doesn’t explicitly use “don’t say gay” has been an effective but disingenuous attempt by its supporters to mask its intent, and as such, is as rhetorically deceptive as the bill itself. In other words, it’s all of once piece. So please, Ms. Redd, don;t use this site to mislead and misinform.
Patricia Redd says
Very surprised that as a journalist that you could be so misinformed. Have you not been aware in school board meetings that parents are objecting to teachers who are having students question their gender or putting on drag shows for young children? Are you unaware that the Democratic candidate for the last Virgina Gubernatorial election said that parents should not be involved in their children’s education? This Florida bill specified that this pertainsto children 8 and under. Maybe you aren’t aware (surprising for a Journalist) that the majority of Florida citizens support this bill. Our Governor is doing the will of the people. Unlike Authoritarian Governors who cater to the minority. Why don’t you be honest and admit that your articles are biased towards the left and that’s why your rag is so unpopular in Flagler County where the vast number of the citizens are Conservative. Funny that you should challenge me, when there’s misinformation that the Republicans want to enslave people and take away the woman’s right to vote. Along with the misinformation of the Republicans wanting to take Social Security and Medicare away. Not a peep out of you correcting that misinformation!
Inside every Republican woman there’s a Marjorie Taylor Greene ranting to get out!
When folks waste away in Margaritaville inhaling lead particles from the exhausts of endless flight school aircraft, I’m not surprised which way the vote swings while searching for that lost shaker of salt.
David Schaefer says
What a bunch of clowns . All these damn people who voted for these idiots need to be ashamed of themselves and crawl back into the hole you just came out of please.
Robert Joseph Fortier says
I have more important things to be concerned about. Why should it matter to me if two people want to get married at this point?
Live and let live.
Scott who stole from Medicare and Rubio who does nothing but is only a follower. Discrimination at its best. Both will tell their voters what good christian’s they are.
Wait until they come for your Social Security, and Medicare bet you wouldn’t vote for them after that. Scott wants to be in control and kick McConnell out of Washington. They want to old timer Republicans out of their way so that they can control everything while destroying our democracy in the process.
Wake up people and smell the coffee.
Patricia Redd says
No one in the Republican Party has said they’ll come after Social Security and Medicare. This statement was made up by the Democrats to scare people into voting against the Republicans. Historically, it’s been the Democrats who mandated that Social Security should be taxed. Before making statements such as these, do your research and I welcome any facts that show that Republicans have threatened to dissolve both programs.
Nanci Whitley says
That’s bs. I heard Rick Scott and Kevin Mccarthy and Ron Johnson say that was part of the GOP agenda
Patricia Redd says
Ok, prove it. It didn’t happen.
Maybe the part where Rick Scott calls for ending all federal programs (“All federal legislation sunsets in 5 years”) and having Congress pass what’s “worth keeping” might help. It didn’t happen because, as with George W. Bush’s plan to reduce social security payments and privatize chunks of it, and Paul Ryan’s plan to privatize Medicare, more rational Republicans didn’t go for any of it. And of course it was Grover Norquist, the supreme Republican strategist at whose troth innumerable Republicans drank, who famously said, “I don’t want to abolish government. I simply want to reduce it to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub.” True, Democrats this year took the Scott morsel and amplified it out of proportion, as if it were in the works. It isn’t. It failed just as his predecessors’ attempts failed. But to suggest that Republicans haven’t been seeking to find ways to defund social security and Medicare is another disingenuous attempt to rewrite history. Again, Ms. Redd, don’t use this site to spread your disinformation. And when you do comment, please document what you say if you want to see your comments appear.
N.B. Just because Scott now says he never meant to end programs when he explicitly called for their end only reinforces the duplicity to which you seem uncritically susceptible.
Patricia Redd says
Steve Williams says
As if that’s not enough proof for you about what Ms. Redd substantiated regarding her comments, I would like to add a bit more proof for your consideration. It seems that you are the one attempting to use this site to spread your disinformation. https://rescueamerica.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/RickScott-11-Point-Policy-Book.pdf
The fact-checking items the commenter links to are all outdated, from earlier in the year, in March or at the latest in October, before Republicans floated more precise plans to revamp or cut spending on Social Security and Medicare. “Congressional Republicans, eyeing a midterm election victory that could hand them control of the House and the Senate, have embraced plans to reduce federal spending on Social Security and Medicare, including cutting benefits for some retirees and raising the retirement age for both safety net programs” Prominent Republicans are billing the moves as necessary to rein in government spending, which grew under both Republican and Democratic presidents in recent decades and then spiked as the Trump and Biden administrations unleashed trillions of dollars in economic relief during the pandemic. The Republican leaders who would decide what legislation the House and the Senate would consider if their party won control of Congress have not said specifically what, if anything, they would do to the programs. Yet several influential Republicans have signaled a new willingness to push for Medicare and Social Security spending cuts as part of future budget negotiations with President Biden. Their ideas include raising the age for collecting Social Security benefits to 70 from 67 and requiring many older Americans to pay higher premiums for their health coverage. The ideas are being floated as a way to narrow government spending on programs that are set to consume a growing share of the federal budget in the decades ahead.”
Republicans pushing for that revamp are named in another recent piece by Bloomberg: “Entitlement, Spending Cap Plans Linked by GOP to Debt-Limit Deal.”
There is non question, as stated earlier, that Democrats have exaggerated charges of ending Medicare or Social Security, except in the now-dead case proposed by Scott. There is also no question that the GOP was planning a vast revamp. Disingenuous commenters, you may try your tricks over facts, elsewhere. You won’t win that battle here, because we don’t peddle in intellectual dishonesty. Please refrain from using this site to spread disinformation.
P Redd: Rick Scott has been after SS and Medicare for years now. He wants to privatize it, which means private companies (no doubt buddies) will make a profit off SS and Medicare whereas the government does not. Rick Scott has already paid 1.7 billion dollars for SS and Medicare fraud by his health companies.
Keven McCarthy told Bloomberg that when the Republicans take over the House and Senate, they would shut down government in order to cut SS and Medicare.
Where do you get your *facts,* Fox Entertainment?
Patricia Redd says
Where do you get yours? MSNBC? 😆
Actually, it was John Scott on Fox News (not entertainment) who interviewed Rick Scott and ran him through the wringer. There was never any statement of intention to take away Social Security or Medicare by any Republican law maker. If you have proof of any statement, I’d like to see it. There was only talk of reform as SS and Medicare have been used as a cash cow by our leaders instead of being put into a Trust fund to preserve it for the people who paid into it.
P. Redd: Aha! You defended Fox, which is an entertainment company, not a news company. Those absurd commenters are not journalists, they are confirmation bias spreaders of misinformation solely for ratings and money. Now there is no doubt where you get your information. No, I’m not a fan of MSNBC. They, too, are ratings hunters. Cute little emoji though.
I saw McCarthy make his statement on Bloomberg TV. He had planned to shut down the government to pressure cuts in Medicare and Social Security. I’m afraid it’s true. I am not a Democrat or a Republican, which allows me to watch people and make decisions apart from party influence.
You have not commented here on Rick Scott’s huge settlement for fraud claims against Social Security, Medicare and other federal programs. Are you okay with what he did?
Scott and Rubio; two worthless sacks of crap. One an embezzler stealing money from Medicare when he ran Columbia and the other, an NRA bribe taker promoting violence while thumping his bible. Incredible how hypocritical these two losers are. So much for sticking up and fighting for all the people!! What a joke!! Typical Republiturds!!
I fully expect Florida to legalize slavery and prohibit women from owning property any day now.
I think they will stop people of color from owning anything. People continue to vote for Repubs. What ashame.
Sorry to correct you but that last section should read “women will become property”. The right wing-nuts have already started down that road.
Patricia Redd says
That’s ridiculous! Look at the amendments to the Constitution. That cannot be done. Good to be informed.
Their Votes aren’t surprising it’s not part of their Florida Anti Woke Culture War Agenda
Michael Cocchiola says
Those effin senators are a waste of corpuscles.
Bill C says
These guys should go back to the 1950’s where they belong, when it was acceptable to say “go back where you came from”.
Bill C says
ps in this case, Rubio and Scott think gay people should go back into the closet.
Rubio and Scott, now there’s the brain trust.
Scott ran a health care company that was fined 1.7 billion dollars for medicare, medicaid and other federal programs fraud. Now, he’s hell bent on getting rid of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Huh!
Waltz voted yes! Who knew? I’ll pay better attention to him now. Too much of Florida’s leadership today is too backasswards.
It’s not just gay marriage. It was interracial marriage as well. Only straight white people can get married in the minds of the traitorous GQP. How vanilla. Even Mitch voted against it and he is in an interracial marriage. Open your eyes folks. It’s not just LGBTQ people. It’s anyone that isn’t a cis-gender white evangelical. In an interracial marriage? They hate it. Take birth control? They hate it. Use condoms? They hate it. Need IVF treatment? They hate it. Collect social security? They hate it. On Medicare? They hate it.
Wake up. Inflation comes and goes as do gas prices and the cost of goods. When you can’t legally marry who you love, use birth control, condoms, have IVF treatment to have a baby, read books, be a parent to your OWN child, that is FAR TOO MUCH government involvement from the party that says they want less. It’s all lies. They want to control everything you do and think. Everything. Give them power and they will be OK with 12 year old rape victims forced to carry while they deny a 30 year old woman IVF treatment, all while changing the voting age to 21 but allowing 16 year olds the ability to buy an AR-15. Republicans are bananas. If you support all this control over others but think you will be spared, think again. They will come for you too. Unles you heil to the masters of the new American Nazi Party – the GQP.
Brian Riehle says
Hey Deborah S Mott…..Scott and Rubio do in fact represent a majority of Floridians. That’s what’s unbelievable !
Same sex marriage is an an abomination to God you lost fools our nation is crumbling with drag queens transgenders
We are a depraved nation . Jesus Christ said except you repent you will perish . Luke 13-3
Florida Voter says
Try saying that without invoking religion. Our constitution if fairly clear that preventing people from exercising their religious beliefs is a big HELL NO in our laws. This also includes forcing your religious beliefs on others. Religion is the domain of the Church. Freedom and Liberty are the domain of our government.
If you need to invoke religion to support a law, then it shouldn’t be a law.
There is no God. The invisible sky fairy may rule your life but not mine. There’s zero room for Religion in Politics. PERIOD.
Marriage is between a man and women. Period. Full stop.
There is no place in this country for two men to be legally married. That’s just not right.
Billingsly: Why, specifically, is it “just not right.” I don’t know why it bothers you at all. You would prefer people to pretend to be someone they are not just to make you feel more comfortable; I don’t understand that. It seems selfishly cruel.
I have always not cared whether people were gay or straight, it has nothing to do with me. In fact, it is really sad for people to pretend to be someone they are not, and marry someone they would never really love in a marital way. That’s completely unfair, and a waste of time and emotion to the spouse. If two consenting adults want to be committed to each other, so be it. They don’t need your judgement or mine, but they do get my support.
Jane Kranz says
A very sad commentary about the leadership in Florida!
jeffery c. seib says
Perhaps Waltz had gay comrades in the military and noticed that they all are not pedophiles intent on luring children for devious measures. Perhaps he has a gay member of his family. The Trump, Rubio, and Scott rhetoric passes over most everyone with at least half a brain. But there are people out there whose reasoning abilities are challenged, and even though there are no LGBTQ people around them they fear that they are taking over and must defend themselves from this, what they see as a scourge on America.
It never ceases to amaze me how seemly well educated legislators pass bills that will eventually end up in federal court only to be struck down as unconstitutional. Several things are happening here. The legislatures are too lazy to push back against leftist populism and know the court will sort it out for them. Also, some of them place getting reelected above common decency/sense. Money from the lobbyists corrupt the system. and the electorate has been dumbed down by leftists in the teachers union so that they’ll vote for anything that promotes self interest and not the interest of the citizens. I can’t imagine what the constitution would look like if it were written today.
As a matter of fact, the majority of parents, left or right, support the parental rights bill, probably because rather than inhaling the slant, they READ it. There’s a link in this article to the PDF.
Secondly, people who obtain their “facts” from one source, such as this site, or fox news(still most watched) will rarely get clear unbiased journalism.
Lastly, from comments here it’s clear to see who has done their due diligence and who just spouts the party line.