Republican Rep. David Jolly (Fla.) announces support for gay marriage


Rep. David Jolly (R-Fla.). (AP Photo/The Tampa Bay Times, Cherie Diez)

Rep. David Jolly (R-Fla.) announced his support for gay marriage Monday, saying that he believes it is "fully appropriate" for a state to recognize both same-sex marriages and "traditional" ones, even though he, as a Christian, believes in the the latter.

When asked by The Washington Post whether he supports gay marriage, in light of a Florida judge's decision last week to overturn the state's ban, Jolly said that his personal views on marriage are that it should be limited to one man and one woman. But, he added, states should not be defining the "sanctity" of marriage.

“As a matter of my Christian faith, I believe in traditional marriage," said Jolly in a statement to 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 becomes the eighth current Republican member of Congress to come out in support of gay marriage. He joins Sen. Susan Collins (Maine), Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), Rep. Richard Hanna (R-N.Y.), and Rep. Charlie Dent (R-Pa.).

The Florida judge's decision only applied to one county in the Florida Keys. It is being appealed.

Jolly was elected in a hotly contested special election in a Tampa-area swing district earlier this year. He defeated Democrat Alex Sink in a race that was viewed as a testing ground for both parties' messaging ahead of the November midterm elections.

Jolly is a former aide to the late Rep. C.W. Bill Young (R). Young's death triggered the special election.

Jolly is not expected to have much trouble winning reelection this year. Retired Col. Ed Jany, who Democrats recruited to run against Jolly in November, ended his campaign less than two weeks after he launched it.

Sean Sullivan has covered national politics for The Washington Post since 2012.
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