Former Rep. Mark Foley applauds SCOTUS decision on DOMA, regrets “gut-wrenching” 1996 vote

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Although he originally voted for the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996, former U.S. Rep. Mark Foley celebrated the Supreme Court ruling that overturns denying federal benefits for same-sex couples.

“Obviously I think it’s a very, very good ruling by the court,” Foley told The Palm Beach Post. “It’s one of the votes I wrestled with at the time. That was a tough vote … a real gut-wrenching vote”

The Republican from West Palm Beach was in the bipartisan majority when DOMA passed the House in July 1996 with a 342-67 vote. The Senate approved DOMA two months later with an 85-14 vote. President Bill Clinton signed it into law.

Foley, who came out as gay, resigned from Congress in 2006 because of a scandal over sexually explicit Internet messages to congressional pages.

“The idea was to let the states make the decision,” Foley told reporters. “Regrettably, we didn’t come up with a proper way to deal with the benefits.”

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.