GOP Rep. David Jolly of Florida came out this week in support of marriage equality for gay couples.
The congressman told The Washington Post on Monday that his personal views about marriage center on it being a union between a man and a woman. But, he added, states should not define the "sanctity" of marriage.
"As a matter of my Christian faith, I believe in traditional marriage," Jolly said 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."
His comments came in response to a Florida judge's decision last week to strike down a 2008 same-sex marriage ban in Monroe County, which includes the Florida Keys. The ruling is being appealed, however.
"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 said.
Jolly is the eighth current Republican member of Congress to support marriage equality. Prominent lawmakers and public officials from both sides of the aisle have reversed their anti-gay sentiment in recent years, including President Barack Obama, former president Bill Clinton, former Vice President Dick Cheney, former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski, and Ohio Sen. Rob Portman.
Jolly won a special election in his Florida district earlier this year.