U.S. Rep. David Jolly on Monday said that although he's a Christian who believes in traditional marriage, he supports a judge's recent decision striking down Florida's gay marriage ban.
Jolly, R-Indian Shores, described himself as "a 41-year-old less-government conservative," and said same-sex marriage is "an issue of less government and personal liberty."
Therefore, he told the Tampa Bay Times in an interview, "a state that embraces both same-sex marriage and traditional marriage is something that I support."
Jolly told the Washington Post on Monday: "As a matter of my Christian faith, I believe in traditional marriage. 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."
That comment spread quickly across the Internet, but Jolly said he thought he simply was reiterating stands he had discussed before.
During a Tampa Bay Times/Bay News 9 televised campaign debate earlier this year, Jolly was asked about the issue and said, "I believe God saw Adam was lonely and he made Eve." But in a later interview he also said he saw no problem with a ballot initiative to remove the state's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.
Staff writers Alex Leary and Amy Hollyfield contributed to this report.