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House makes ‘Juneteenth’ a federal holiday

Arizona's Paul Gosar among those opposed to the measure

WASHINGTON, D.C. (KYMA, KECY) - The U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday voted in favor of making "Juneteenth" a federal holiday.

The bill passed by a margin of 415-14. The 14 opponents are all Republicans. Democrats hope President Joe Biden will sign the measure into law before Saturday.

A similar measure cleared the Senate easily on Tuesday. Both bills enjoyed strong bipartisan backing.

The June 19th holiday, known as Juneteenth, commemorates the end of slavery in the United States. It is already celebrated in 47 states and the District of Columbia. Arizona began recognizing it as an official state holiday in 2016.

However, two of the state's congressmen opposed officially marking the date on a national level; Rep. Paul Gosar, who represents Yuma County, and Rep. Andy Biggs, who represents eastern Maricopa County.

Congressman Gosar released this statement after his no vote:

Rep. Paul Gosar, (R-Ariz.)

“Our country is divided, and the cultural and political Marxists are continuing their relentless efforts to divide this country further.  

Juneteenth is more debunked Critical Race Theory in action. I reject racism. I reject the racial division people are promoting. I voted no because this proposed holiday does not bring us together, it tears us apart. 

I cannot support efforts that furthers racial divisions in this country. We have one Independence Day, and it applies equally to all people of all races,”

- Rep. Paul Gosar, (R-Ariz.)

The bill officially names the holiday "Juneteenth Independence Day." It's also known as Emancipation Day and Black Independence Day.

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