Rep. David Jolly (R-FL) has become the eighth Republican member of Congress to express support for marriage equality, a reversal of his previous position. Responding to an inquiry from the Washington Post, Jolly explained that despite maintaining his personal opposition to same-sex marriage, he doesn’t believe the law should be used to ban same-sex couples from the institution.
“As a matter of my Christian faith, I believe in traditional marriage,” Jolly explained. “But as a matter of Constitutional principle I believe in a form of limited government that protects personal liberty. To me, that means that the sanctity of one’s marriage should be defined by their faith and by their church, not by their state. Accordingly, I believe it is fully appropriate for a state to recognize both traditional marriage as well as same-sex marriage, and therefore I support the recent decision by a Monroe County Circuit Judge.”
During a debate in February, Jolly said he supported Florida’s amendment banning same-sex marriage, because, “I believe God saw Adam was lonely and he made Eve.” He went on to win his seat in a March special election to replace Rep. Bill Young (R), who died in office last October.
Jolly was reacting to a decision by a state judge last week overturning Florida’s ban on same-sex marriage. Attorney General Pam Bondi (R) immediately filed an appeal, which automatically triggered a stay the judge has refused to lift, preventing couples from marrying while the case proceeds.
The other Congressional Republicans who support marriage equality are Sens. Susan Collins (ME), Rob Portman (OH), Lisa Murkowski (AK), and Mark Kirk (IL) and Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL), Richard Hanna (NY), and Charlie Dent (PA).