U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, R-St. Elizabeth, was the only GOP representative from Missouri to vote for a defense authorization bill.
Some Republicans - including Luetkemeyer - objected to an amendment that would make it a federal crime to assault people based off their sexual orientation. But unlike the four other Republican U.S. representatives from Missouri, the freshman legislator decided to vote for the bill.
“We must support our military men and women who are putting their lives on the line to defend our nation and our freedoms, and we must remain committed to the fight against terrorist regimes that seek to destroy our way of life,” Luetkemeyer said in a statement. “Despite political games by the Majority that includes a divisive non-defense related measure tacked onto the bill, I supported this legislation because our men and women in uniform are my top priority.”
Luetkemeyer's press release went on to say that the congressman opposed the hate crimes legislation because "of his belief that it would make one person’s life more valuable than another person’s life."
"The congressman has argued that all violent crime is wrong, is founded in hate, is devastating to victims and communities and it should always be vigorously prosecuted," the press release went on to say.
Still, U.S. Reps. Roy Blunt, R-Springfield, Sam Graves, R-Tarkio, Todd Akin, R-Town and Country, and Joann Emerson, R-Cape Girardeau, all voted against the defense authorization bill. The Missouri Democratic Party put out a release charging that the four "chose politics over principle today" by voting against the bill.
“Congressman Blunt and other Missouri Republicans have obviously decided to put politics ahead of our troops,” said Missouri Democratic Party Executive Director Brian Zuzenak in a statement. “This is a bipartisan bill that makes sure our men and women have what they need to keep our country safe – our troops and Missourians deserve better than the same old Washington party politics.”
In a statement of his own, Blunt said he voted against the bill because of the hate crimes amendment. Here's video of Blunt speaking out against the measure:
Putting on my legal hat for a moment, it would be fair to assume that this legislation would be challenged immediately if it had been passed in the Missouri General Assembly. The Missouri Constitution forbids legislation dealing with multiple subjects.