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Video: Sen. Tim Kaine Says We Need to Avert a Rail Strike; “Respect for Marriage Act” a “Huge Advance”; Calls Rep. Donald McEachin a “climate champion” and “champion for the underdogs”

Kaine: Rail workers "deserved improvement and they got it. Is it good enough? Most of the union leadership felt that it was"

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See below for video of Sen. Tim Kaine speaking with Jake Tapper earlier this afternoon, in which Sen. Kaine said:

On the possible rail strike and legislation aimed at averting it: “Paid sick leave is a very reasonable request, but it’s also the case that the deal that was negotiated and then mediated is a significant improvement in wages and other working conditions for rail workers. They deserved improvement and they got it. Is it good enough? Most of the union leadership felt that it was, and many of the unions in votes of their membership felt that it was. As you know, there are multiple railroad unions, and some of the membership have not been supportive. But as a general matter, this deal that’s been negotiated is a significant improvement in wages and working conditions for rail workers…I’m looking forward to discussions both with railroads and also unions before I cast a vote…We do need to avert the strike…Remember, there was a deadline in September that we thought we had averted with the deal, and that deal was a significant improvement in working conditions for workers that many of the unions support, again not all the unions do…”

On same-sex and interracial marriage: “I’d argue that they’re right [that the Respect for Marriage Act doesn’t go far enough], but we need to do this right now and then we can start looking for the next victory…I’m…proud to be a co-sponsor the Respect for Marriage Act, it would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act from the 1990s and it would force every state, whatever their own marriage laws, it would force every state to recognize both interracial and same-sex marriages. And that means the millions of couples who that applies to will be able to move anywhere in the United States, any zip code in this country, and their marriage has to be given the same respect that any other marriage would be. That is a huge advance. After Obergerfell, we wouldn’t have thought we would have needed this. But the Dobbs decision this summer made plain that this Republican hand-picked Supreme Court report will not only go after reproductive rights, it’s likely to go after marriage equality. And so by doing this we will force states to recognize lawful marriages from other states, which they should do so anyway under the 14th Amendment grant of privileges and immunities and equal protection. It will be one of the most important pieces of civil rights legislation that Congress has passed in decades. But you’re right, it doesn’t go far enough, so let’s get this one done and then we can try to go farther.”

On concerns by religious conservatives who “are worried that this legislation will force them to violate their religious beliefs”:  “I will say that they’re wrong and if people are telling them that they’re affirmatively misleading them. This bill has conscience protection, so no religion is required to officiate same-sex marriages. Look, my Catholic Church, as a doctrinal matter doesn’t believe in divorce, but it doesn’t insist that Virginia not have a divorce law; it just has its own rules about whether divorces will be recognized or not. The same principle will hold for performing marriages – churches will not have to perform marriages that are at odds with their doctrine, but they can’t block others from getting married under the civil laws of the state. In fact, allowing a church to dictate what the laws of the state would be would be a gross violation of the first amendment’s free exercise and establishment clauses.”

On the death of Rep. Donald McEachin: “I met Donald when he was 24 years old and I was a year or so older and I was at a celebration of his wedding to Colette who is also a dear friend. He died after a very courageous battle with cancer that lasted about 10 years. I never once heard Donald complain or be without a smile on his face, even as he was visibly weakening because of cancer. So I hope folks will remember him as a gentle giant, as a climate champion, as a champion for the underdogs, and a wonderful husband, father and devoted friend.”

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