A Florida Republican lawmaker, once accused of sexually harassing his former male aides, now wants to overturn the state’s constitutional language that defines marriage as a union of a man and a woman.
Republican State Rep. Fabian Basabe filed two bills to do that last week.
One bill would allow voters to repeal a 2008 amendment to the state Constitution that defined marriage as a heterosexual union. That passed with 62% support.
Basabe’s other bill would scrub that language from the state laws that implemented the amendment.
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Basabe told Florida Politics that he filed both measures “in good conscience with the hope of demonstrating bipartisan support” with Democrats for gay marriage.
As the website noted, Democrats have been pushing for repealing the one man, one woman language from the Constitution since the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges decision upholding gay marriage across the country.
With last year’s collapse of the 49-year-old Roe v. Wade decision on abortion, liberals have promoted the idea that gay marriage needs stronger legal protections against a more conservative court overturning Obergefell.
At the same time, however, liberals have championed infringing on the First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of religion by citing that case to compel states to force bakers, florists, photographers, and others to participate in same-sex weddings against their beliefs.
Basabe reportedly upset LGBTQ activists earlier this year by supporting the expansion of the state’s Parental Rights in Education law.
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Yet The New Republic reported shortly after that became law in July that Basabe was being sued for sexual harassment by two former male staffers.
“Basabe made repeated sexual comments and advances towards a legislative aide and an intern,” the magazine reported. “The suit detailed accusations including Basabe nonconsensually slapping the aide’s butt while at an elementary school career day, and groping and trying to kiss a Florida State University graduate student before then going on to hire him as an intern.”
Despite the alleged harassment, the intern said he took the job as an “apology” from Basabe.
The lawmaker also reportedly showed both men a photo of a naked man on his phone and made a lewd reference about them having gay sex.
Basabe denied the allegations to the Miami Herald, calling them “ridiculous.” His lawyer also told the Herald that the lawsuit was “frivolous and meritless,” and predicted his client would be “fully vindicated” when it goes to trial.
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