One Of Nebraska’s Three House Members Votes For Same-Sex Marriage Bill

(KFOR NEWS  July 20, 2022)   Only 2nd District Republican Congressman, Don Bacon, was among Nebraska’s 3 Republican members of the U.S. House to approve legislation Tuesday to protect same-sex and interracial marriages.  Mike Flood of the 1st District and Adrian Smith in the 3rd District were among 157 Representatives opposing the bill, which passed with 267 votes.

Congressman Bacon commented on his vote for the Respect for Marriage Act – “As a person of faith, I believe in the traditional definition of marriage.  However, I do not believe the government should dictate who can marry each other based on gender, race, or ethnicity.  Churches, synagogues, mosques, and other religious establishments have the right to decide within their walls and congregations who they will perform marriages for, but the federal government does not.  This has been the law for seven years and many thousands have been married with this as law of the land. Americans should have the right to their private lives.  The Supreme Court showed that all viewpoints can be respected.

1st District Congressman Flood released a statement after the bill’s passing, saying in part – “This bill was rushed to the floor, completely disregarding the normal committee process, because it’s just a political ploy.  The Supreme Court has made clear that nobody’s marriage is under threat, and to insinuate otherwise isn’t just inaccurate—it’s cruel, hateful fear-mongering.  The American people deserve better.”

Democratic Congressional Candidate, Patty Pansing Brooks, said she is baffled by Mike Flood’s vote.  It is highly alarming that Mike Flood would vote against protecting the right to marriage,” That he would vote against such a simple acknowledgement of the current law of the land tells us how much he is willing to march lockstep to follow his party leaders.  As the mother of a gay son, this issue is very personal to me, as it is for countless other Nebraskans,” she said. “I believe love is love, and I will always vote accordingly when I am in Congress.  In addition, with our State’s workforce development needs, we can’t afford to send any signals to the LGBTQ+ community that they aren’t welcome here.

Pansing Brooks said after seven years of national marriage equality for LGBTQ+ Nebraskans, this issue shouldn’t even be up for debate any longer.  “Unfortunately, the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling against a right to privacy has suddenly put many freedoms in jeopardy – not only marriage equality, but also vitro fertilization, birth control and others,” Pansing Brooks said.

Nebraska Democratic Chair, Jane Kleeb, on Tuesday condemned Republican Reps.  Mike Flood and Adrian Smith for voting against a House measure to protect same-sex and interracial marriages.  “Once again, they voted to strip Nebraskans of their rights,” Chair Kleeb said. “Instead of representing Nebraska families, Flood and Smith represent the cruel wing of the Republican PartyFlood is on a real roll in his first few weeks in D.C. Flood’s mean-spirted and heartless vote on gay marriage came on the heels of his votes against an Amber Alert-type warning system for active shooters and a bill that would’ve codified Roe v. Wade and protected a women’s constitutional right to travel to another state to receive an abortion.

In a robust but lopsided debate, Democrats argued intensely and often personally in favor of enshrining marriage equality in federal law, while Republicans steered clear of openly rejecting gay marriage.  Instead leading Republicans portrayed the bill as unnecessary amid other issues facing the nation.

Tuesday’s election-year roll call was partly political strategy, forcing all House members, Republicans and Democrats, to go on the record.  It also reflected the legislative branch pushing back against an aggressive court that has raised questions about revisiting other apparently settled U.S. laws.

Wary of political fallout, GOP leaders did not press their members to hold the party line against the bill, aides said. In all, 47 Republicans joined all Democrats in voting for passage.

While the Respect for Marriage Act easily passed the House with a Democratic majority, it is likely to stall in the evenly split Senate, where most Republicans would probably join a filibuster to block it. It’s one of several bills, including those enshrining abortion access, that Democrats are proposing to confront the court’s conservative majority. Another bill, guaranteeing access to contraceptive services, is set for a vote later this week.

House GOP leaders split over the issue, with Minority Leader, Kevin McCarthy, and Whip Rep. Steve Scalise voting against the marriage rights bill, but the No. 3 Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York voting in favor.

In a notable silence, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell declined to express his view on the bill, leaving an open question over how strongly his party would fight it, if it should come up for a vote in the upper chamber.

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