Republicans Squeezed Over Same-Sex Marriage Protections

by | Jul 20, 2022 | Politics

House-passed legislation codifying protections for same-sex marriage is dividing Republican lawmakers in Congress after support for marriage equality hit a record high last month.Forty-seven out of 211 House Republicans voted for the bill on Tuesday, which Democrats brought forward amid fears the Supreme Court will overturn its 2015 ruling legalizing same-sex marriage as it did for abortion rights. AdvertisementPressure is now building on the Senate to take up the legislation, which has garnered the support of a handful of Republican senators. “I want to bring this bill to the floor and we’re working to get the necessary Senate Republican support to ensure it would pass,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Wednesday. Schumer didn’t commit to bringing the bill to the floor soon, however. Democrats are racing to pass several other pieces of legislation before the annual August recess next month, including a package that would lower health care prices. Scheduling a vote on the bill would be an easy win for Democrats, regardless of whether it passes or not. At a minimum, it would put GOP divisions on display ahead of the November midterm elections. AdvertisementOnly four Republican senators have expressed support or openness for codifying protections for gay marriage: Susan Collins (Maine), Rob Portman (Ohio), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Thom Tillis (North Carolina). Proponents of the bill would need at least six more GOP votes to break a filibuster in the evenly divided Senate.But many Republicans declined to state a position on the House legislation on Wednesday, dodging the question by saying they had yet to read the four-page bill. Others called it unnecessary, maintaining that there is no active threat to same-sex marriage right now. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who faces reelection this year, called the effort to codify same-sex marriage protections “a waste of time.”Bill Clark via Getty Images“It’s the law of the land,” Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said repeatedly when asked if he would support the bill. AdvertisementThe Iowa senator did not respond when a reporter noted that Roe v. Wade also used to be the law of the land.“Given the fact that the law is settled on this … I don’t think we need to lose sleep over it unless there were a development that suggested the law was going to be changed,” Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) added. Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) chided reporters for even asking him about it.“I’m so frustrated the press is putting so much time in this. They’re trying to distract from inflation,” he said of the Democrats.Several Republicans ducked questions about federal protections for same-sex marriage even as they expressed support for it.“I think there’s a difference between matrimony as a sacrament and a legal marriage and so if someone wants to do that type of a partnership, I’m not opposed,” Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) said. AdvertisementSen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) said he sees no need for “legislating” on same-sex marriage, before adding: “I’m all about live life the way you want to. It’s a free country.” When asked if he supported gay marriage, Tuberville said, “Yeah, if that’s what you want to do, fine.”A few Republicans did make it clear they opposed codifying protections for same-sex marriage.Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who faces reelection this year, called the effort “a waste of time” and said it isn’t a priority amid high consumer prices. “But I know plenty of gay people in Florida that are pissed off about gas prices,” Rubio said.Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), meanwhile, said he supported the Defense of Marriage Act, the 1996 law that defined marriage as between a man and a woman. The House bill codifying protections for gay marriage would repeal DO …

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