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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Rubio calls failure of Blunt amendment 'setback for religious freedoms'



The U.S. Senate today defeated the so-called Blunt amendment that would have allowed employers and insurers to opt out of provisions of President Obama's health care law on moral or religious grounds. It was geared toward a mandate for birth control coverage.

Florida Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson voted against it; Republican Sen. Marco Rubio voted for it, and was a co-sponsor.

Rubio said in a statement: “The Senate’s failure to pass Senator Blunt’s amendment is a setback for religious freedoms in America. We must stop the unconstitutional mandate under ObamaCare that requires church-affiliated organizations to offer their workers private-insurance coverage without out-of-pocket charges for birth control, something they are morally opposed to. Telling religious based organizations that they must, by mandate of the federal government, pay for things that that religion teaches is wrong. You may not agree with what the religion believes, but that’s not the point. The point is the First Amendment still applies. Religious freedom still exists.”

Democrats attacked Rubio for his support, with the Obama campaign sending out an e-mail last night and today, Florida Democratic Party Chairman Rod Smith said:

"Marco Rubio championed a dangerous and extreme measure which would have denied women the lifesaving health care they need. Make no mistake: Sen. Rubio, along with Mitt Romney, tried to turn women's health care into a political football in order to advance their own extreme agenda — a shameful, partisan tactic which threatened the lives of women in our state and across our country."

[Last modified: Thursday, March 1, 2012 1:19pm]


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