U.S. Rep. John Mica is finding himself defending a no vote and comments he made 36 years ago in the Florida House of Representatives against a bill that would have made marital rape a crime.
Apparently in 1980 it was unclear whether Florida statutes considered marital rape as rape. It took two more years before prosecutors were successful in getting a prosecution and conviction in such a case. And apparently, as with almost all bills, there was more to bill than just the fundamental issue.
Memory of that vote first was revived last spring by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee when it was attacking Mica even though he had no Democratic opponent yet in Florida’s 7th Congressional District. More recently it has cropped up in mailers and comments supporting Mica’s Democratic opponent Stephanie Murphy in the past couple of weeks. Mica, a 12-term Republican congressman from Winter Park, is fighting back against that and other campaign tactics taken by Murphy and her supporters who have been trying to paint him as anti-women.
According to a mailer put out by the Florida Democratic Party, Mica urged a no vote on that 1980 bill, saying, during the May 29, 1980, floor debate, “We don’t need to go meddling in the marriage bedroom.”
Mica insists now that he voted against the 1980 bill only because it was a bad bill, that he has voted for other, much stronger bills protecting women from violence, and that he is adamantly in agreement that marital rape – also known as spousal rape – is rape.
But for some voters the 36-year-old vote and comment are worth considering, following the latest reports in the mailers and media.
Now Mica finds himself defending himself in social media. On Monday he responded to one Facebook post referencing the Murphy campaign’s comments about the bill by