University of Florida students, faculty protest Sasse appointment over gay marriage stance
"There are definitely federal policy issues where I've had disputes before about which decisions courts should be making versus legislatures, but Obergefell, for example, is the law of the land and nothing about Obergefell is changing in the United States," senator explained.
University of Florida students and faculty are protesting the appointment of Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) as president of the school because of his positions on same-sex marriage.
During a question-and-answer session that Sasse attended on Monday at the university, protestors claimed the senator's stance on same-sex marriage makes him an unsuitable choice for being the university's president, The Hill reported.
A petition organized by a student at the university urges the board of trustees to reject the search committee's recommendation that Sasse be chosen as the president. The petition claims that Sasse's political views "do not align with the values that the students at the University of Florida hold."
"They are discriminatory and non-representative of our student population," the petition reads.
Following the Supreme Court's 2015 decision to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide in Obergefell v. Hodges, Sasse called it "a disappointment."
"The Supreme Court once again overstepped its Constitutional role by acting as a super-legislature and imposing its own definition of marriage on the American people rather than allowing voters to decide in the states," Sasse said.
"As a society, we need to celebrate marriage as the best way to provide stability and opportunity for kids."
Sasse has also criticized the House-passed Respect for Marriage Act, calling the legislation requiring all states to recognize same-sex and interracial unions as an effort by Speaker Pelosi "to divide America with culture wars. I think it's just the same bullshit. She's not an adult."
The first question Sasse received at the Q&A was regarding his opposition to same-sex marriage.
The senator said that the Supreme Court's ruling is the "law of the land" and will not be changing.
"I believe in the universal dignity and the immeasurable worth of every single person," Sasse said. "All the tens of millions of Floridians, all … 56,000 students here, all 30,000 faculty and staff. Every person has immeasurable worth and dignity, and we need to create a community of inclusion and respect and trust where people feel heard and appreciated and cherished."
"There are definitely federal policy issues where I've had disputes before about which decisions courts should be making versus legislatures, but Obergefell, for example, is the law of the land and nothing about Obergefell is changing in the United States," he continued.
"So your question is: do I support and affirm everybody in this community? Absolutely. And frankly, one of my jobs would be to make sure that we as a community work hard for everybody to feel included, and one piece of that is making sure we understand what metrics we have to make sure we’re getting better at making people feel included."
After Sasse's response, protestors chanted, "Hey hey, ho ho, Ben Sasse has got to go."
"Obviously, I wish they didn't have the position they have, but I strongly support the right people to protest and exercise their free speech rights," Sasse said. "I won't say I precisely welcome the protesters, but I sort of intellectually and constitutionally welcome the protesters."
The university deal to make Sasse president has yet to be finalized but he's the school's only candidate. He intends to announce in mid-November that he will resign 30 days later, giving the state's governor time to select a replacement.
Before being elected to the Senate in 2014, Sasse was president of Midland University in Nebraska.