U.S. Rep. Scott Franklin of Lakeland joined the majority of Congressional Republicans in opposing the Respect for Marriage Act, which offers federal protection for same-sex and interracial marriages.

The bill was approved 258-169 on Thursday, with all Democrats voting in favor, along with 39 Republicans. It had previously passed the Senate 61-36 with the support of 12 Republicans. The bill now goes to President Joe Biden, who is expected to sign it into law.

The act guarantees federal protection for any marriage that is valid in the state where it occurred and requires states to recognize the legitimacy of a valid marriage performed elsewhere; it does not require a state to issue marriage licenses contrary to its own law.

Three of Florida’s 16 Congressional Republicans voted in favor of the bill: Kat Cammack, Carlos Gimenez, and Tim Waltz. Three other Florida Republicans who supported the bill during an earlier vote in July opposed it on Thursday: Mario Diaz-Balart, Brian Mast and Maria Salazar.

Asked for comment on his vote, Franklin sent a written statement to The Ledger:

“The principle of separation of church and state is just as much about separating church from state as it is state from church. This bill didn’t go far enough to protect the religious freedoms of those who might be compelled to provide services for gay marriages against their convictions. That said, I don’t have issues with the government recognizing civil unions between any two persons for legal purposes, but the federal government getting into the business of defining marriage is an overreach and intrusion.”

“For the same reason President Bill Clinton stated in 1996 that the Defense of Marriage Act was unnecessary and divisive, this ‘Respect for Marriage Act’ is just another example of the federal government meddling where it shouldn’t.”

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Barry Friedman founded Lkldnow.com in 2015 as the culmination of a career in print and digital journalism. Since 1982, he has used the tools of reporting, editing and content curation to help people in Lakeland understand their community better.

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