David Jolly's Support of Same-Sex Marriage Draws Conservative Fire

By: Kevin Derby | Posted: July 24, 2014 3:55 AM
David Jolly

David Jolly

This week, a Republican congressman from Florida drew fire from the right over his support of gay marriage. 

U.S. Rep. David Jolly, R-Fla., told the Washington Post on Monday that he supports same-sex marriage and applauded a Monroe County judge who, last week, struck down the state constitutional amendment passed by voters recognizing only traditional marriage in Florida.

“As a matter of my Christian faith, I believe in traditional marriage," Jolly told the Post  "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.”

Jolly was elected in a special election in March, beating former state CFO Alex Sink, the Democratic candidate, in an upset. Libertarian Lucas Overby, who pulled 5 percent back in March, is the only candidate Jolly faces in November.

Conservatives pushed back against Jolly on Wednesday, insisting the new congressman said he supported only traditional marriage during the campaign. More than 50 conservatives, who identified themselves as Jolly’s “campaign volunteers, financial supporters and constituents,” sent the congressman an open letter on the matter, saying they were “profoundly disappointed” with his support for same-sex marriage. The group included activists with Florida Family Action which was a leading force behind the successful state constitutional amendment recognizing only traditional marriage in the Sunshine State passed by Florida voters in 2008 and which is currently helping defend the law in court.

“So many of us worked, walked, called, gave money and voted to help you get elected and defeat the liberal Democrat Alex Sink because you personally assured us that you were a conservative Republican who believed that marriage was between one man and one woman,” the conservatives wrote Jolly. “In church after church, you publicly stated your support for the policy behind Florida's law and Florida's Constitution which clearly defines marriage as the union of one man and one woman, as over 30 other states have done.

“Just months ago, you told us that you supported a ‘state's right’ to define marriage which is consistent with the holding of the 2013 U.S. Supreme Court case of U.S. vs. Windsor -- yet now you are completely failing to support your own state's law and the constitutional mandate passed by 5 million Floridians,” the conservatives noted. “You ran for Congress as a member of the Republican Party with a platform clearly affirming that ‘marriage, the union of one man and one woman, must be upheld as the national standard’ and now you have turned your back on this standard.

“By agreeing with the judge's recent ruling in Monroe County, you promote the fiction that Florida's marriage laws have been declared unconstitutional by some legitimate authority,” the conservatives continued. “The federal courts have clearly not given their final word on this matter and the ruling is being appealed by Florida's attorney general.”

The conservatives insisted Jolly agreed with the Monroe County judge’s “irresponsible claim that citizens in your district who passed the marriage amendment were motivated by ‘animus’ or hatred toward gay-identified persons.”  

“Nothing could be further from the truth or more morally repugnant to us, as we all affirm the inherent dignity and value of every human being,” the conservatives wrote. “We reject your illusory and false dichotomy between your ‘personal views’ and ‘public views’ as a legislator as you made no such distinction during your campaign.  Liberals for years have made the same arguments to deceptively triangulate on other moral issues.”

Insisting Jolly’s comments were “not those of a serious-minded and thoughtful legislator who understands the state's compelling interest in the economic and social implications inherent within the institutions of marriage and family,” the conservatives demanded to know what other issue the congressman could change his view on. Calling Jolly’s support of same-sex marriage, an “act of cowardice and a betrayal to the very persons that worked extremely hard to get you elected to office,” the conservatives demanded he “publicly apologize for this mistake and hold fast to your original position that states should define marriage as it has always been, the union of one man and one woman only.”

Jolly’s statement did draw the applause of Marc Solomon, the national campaign director of Freedom to Marry, which is supporting same-sex marriage around the nation.

“We congratulate Congressman Jolly for doing the right thing by his constituents and his country in supporting the freedom to marry,” Solomon said on Monday night after Jolly said he backed same-sex marriage. “He joins the growing wave of Republicans across America who recognize that marriage for same-sex couples is in sync with Republican values of individual liberty and strong families. All committed couples across the Sunshine State should have the freedom to marry and share in the protections of marriage that are crucial to building a family and taking care of their loved ones."

Reach Kevin Derby at kderby@sunshinestatenews.com.

Comments (3)

10:52AM JUL 25TH 2014
Thanks for running big excerpts from the conservative letter. What a bunch of whining claptrap. No logic, just an attempt to verbally shame him. Whine, whine, whine.

The difference between David Jolly and Marco Rubio is striking. Jolly stuck his neck out and had the guts to speak up even though it was going to upset his Neanderthal supporters. Rubio, by contrast, comes off as pandering to his audience when he whines that equal rights supporters are intolerant of those who oppose them.
4:56PM JUL 24TH 2014
Although I am definitely not one who agrees with the Republican platform , I must applaud Mr. Jolly for his stance on this. His statement that his personal beliefs should not influence the Constitutionally guaranteed rights of ALL, is exactly what most Repubs cannot stomach. If they had their way, and they're trying-these right-wing conservatives would deny women AL the rights they've gained in the last 100 years and regulate Christianity as the National Religion. The African Americans and Hispanic people better keep a close eye on these extremists, also. I salute you, MR Jolly! Wish there more who had your sense of right and wrong-no matter the Party platform decrees.
@ Frank-Spot on, Sir! Would that there were more people who had enough faith in their lifestyle that they didn't feel the need to force it on others. The Republicans in Florida-and elsewhere, are the largest and most hubristic group of hypocrites I've seen in government positions in more than 50 years. Some are not guilty-as Mr. Jolly. but the majority have been hijacked by the teabaggers and the ultra-conservatives of the religious right. They bear the blame-they invited them to their party-in expectation of great gifts of $$, but then didn't know how to make the interlopers take a back seat. God help us all if these people prevail in their desires to enforce their ideology on the entire nation. Theocracy is what THAT is called.
4:18PM JUL 24TH 2014
Can there be any better hypocritical statement from so-called conservatives than "we all affirm the inherent dignity and value of every human being" . . . . . . while insisting on continued bigotry to ensure that certain human beings don't possess the same legal and social rights as the rest of us . . . . . due to those conservatives' particular, religious-based beliefs . . . . . .

This also highlights the hypocritical chutzpah of a Marco Rubio bemoaning that "Today there is a growing intolerance on this issue, intolerance for those who continue to support traditional marriage" . . . since, as he claims, that "Defining marriage as between one man and one woman is not anti-gay" . . . . . . . yet, no one wants to prohibit mixed gender couples from being able to marry due to someone's religious beliefs . . . . that's only happening to same sex couples . . . and to claim that that is not "anti-gay" and clearcut religious-based bigotry is clearly . . .

Pathetic . . . .

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