When the U.S. House of Representatives passed a coronavirus relief measure Monday night, one Republican refused to vote for it, because it “redefined family” by including sick leave allowing unmarried partners to care for each other’s children.
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) would make free testing for the virus available for the uninsured and bolster social welfare programs like food stamps and unemployment insurance for families who are losing work as the pandemic continues, explains Alex Bollinger, writing for LGBTQNation. It would also provide two weeks paid sick leave and medical leave so people can care for themselves and their loved ones.
It’s that last part that seems to stick in the craw of Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ). In an interview on the Family Research Council’s radio program, Biggs voiced his disapproval.
“They’ve redefined family for the first time in a federal … in a piece of federal legislation, to include committed relationships,” Biggs said. “The problem with that is it’s really hard to define a committed relationship, and it’s really hard to define anything related to that.”
Biggs is referring to a section in the bill that “defines a person’s child to include several types of children: biological, adopted, and foster children, stepchildren, and ‘a child of a domestic partner. A ‘domestic partner’ according to the law, is someone in a committed relationship with an individual and they ‘share responsibility for a significant measure of each other’s common welfare.'”
The bill specifies that the definition of “domestic partner” can also include same-sex couples and the language was adapted from earlier sick leave legislation in 2015, The Intercept reports.
Biggs, a conservative Christian, is known for espousing anti-gay sentiments, perhaps most notably in regards to the Supreme Court decision regarding Obergfell v. Hodges, which recognized the rights of same-sex couples to marry, which he once again described as an attempt to “redefine marriage” that is an “affront to the millions of Americans who believe marriage is between a man and a woman.”