GOP support for same-sex marriage bill reflects a shift among Republican voters

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Dozens of House Republicans voted with Democrats on Tuesday to codify same-sex marriage into federal law, in breach of the party’s long-established position that marriage is still between a man and a woman.

47 Republicans across 21 different states joined a unanimous Democratic rally in support of the legislation Respecting the law of marriageBy 267 votes to 157, including Representative Elise Stefanik of New York, the 3rd Republican member of the House of Representatives; Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming; and Representative Tom Emyr of Minnesota, who is the chairman of the Republican National Congress committee. This action would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act of 1996, establish legal same-sex marriage for the purposes of federal law and strengthen legal protections for same-sex couples.

The move is a watershed for Republican lawmakers who have spent decades opposing the legalization of same-sex marriage and broader gay rights. However, it coincides with the country’s rising support for marriage equality, which As of last year It included a majority of Republican voters.

At least one Republican member of the House of Representatives, who voted in favor of the Respect for Marriage Act, regretted the previous vote against same-sex marriage and shared what helped him change their minds.

“In 2017, I expressed my deep regret for voting against a bill legalizing same-sex marriage in the state of New York while I was in the state assembly six years ago. Representative Nicole Malliotakis of New York said in statement Tuesday. “Over the past decade, I have attended two weddings for couples who deserve equal recognition and protection under the law. Today, I will vote to legalize same-sex marriage to ensure that our fellow Americans continue to enjoy the right to marry and equal benefits under federal law.”

Another Republican House member shared an even more nonsense sarcasm about why she voted for the bill.

“If gay couples want to be married as happily or miserably as straight couples are, they have more power. Believe me, I’ve tried it more than once,” Representative Nancy Mays of South Carolina said on Twitter.

Same-sex marriage has been legal across the United States since 2015, when the Supreme Court ruled that the Constitution guaranteed the right to marriage equality in Obergefell v. Historic Hodges. But since the court retracted its precedent last month in Drop Raw vs. Wade – The 1973 ruling that guaranteed a constitutional right to abortion – LGBTI activists and lawmakers sounded alarm bells that the court might also overturn its decision on same-sex marriage. There are still at least 29 states banning same-sex marriage on the books that could take effect if Obergefell’s decision is overturned, Jason Persison, a political science professor at the University of Illinois, He told NBC News: Last month.

In his favorable opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the case that dropped Roe last month, Judge Clarence Thomas also raised concerns among LGBTQ advocates and Democratic lawmakers when he called on the Supreme Court to reconsider the 2015 same-sex marriage ruling, among other things.

Marie Bonnotto, who argued on behalf of same-sex couples in Obergefell v. Hodges and now serves as director of the civil rights project at GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders, or GLAD, said Obergefell’s ruling is constitutionally valid, but called the new legislation a “very important step” to ensure Equality in marriage.

“Congress is doing what it can to try and restore some sense of stability to people who are now very concerned about their families and what happens to future marriages,” Bonnotto said. “Let’s just say [if] Obergefell has been reversed, which it shouldn’t be, then, a failsafe, which is that there will always be cases licensing marriage to same-sex couples. “

“I understand the concerns, but I would just say there’s a reason we win so many of these cases once we get to the federal courts, and it’s hard to articulate a government interest to exclude same-sex couples from marriage,” Bonauto added.

Support for same-sex marriage in the United States has grown significantly over the past three decades. When research firm Gallup began polling support for marriage equality in 1996, just over a quarter of Americans were in favor of legalizing unions, compared to 71% this yearincluding 55% of Republicans.

Republican LGBTQ activists have applauded bipartisan support for the new legislation, citing broader support within the party.

“Log Cabin Republicans thank these forward-looking members for voting to settle this issue once and for all and move the Republican Party in line with not only the vast majority of the country, but the majority of its voters,” the gay conservative advocacy group said in a statement Tuesday. We will continue to work with our allies in Congress and elect more candidates in November who understand that inclusion wins. The future of our party and our nation depends on it.”

Gabriel Magney, an assistant professor of political science at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, argued that the November midterm elections played a greater role in supporting Republicans versus public sentiment. Just under half of the 47 Republicans who voted in favor of the measure have either retired from Congress or are running for reelection in states that have historically voted for Democratic presidents in the past 30 years.

“They are concerned that LGBT rights are making another mobilization issue for Democratic voters in the same way that abortion rights could be in November,” Magney said, referring to the 47 House Republicans. “And to some extent, today, marriage equality is less controversial than abortion rights among the conservative base Republicans rely on.”

Compared with the 55% who support marriage equality, 38% of Republicans say abortion should be legal in most or all cases, according to the vote From the Pew Research Center released last month.

For the Respect for Marriage Act to reach President Joe Biden’s office and become law, the legislation would need to get 60 votes in the 50-50 divided Senate. On the Senate floor Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said He would like to bring the legislation to a vote in the Senate – adding that he was “impressed” by the Republican support in the House – but did not say when.

Two of the bill’s co-sponsors, Senator Susan Collins of Maine and Senator Rob Portman of Ohio, are the only two Republican senators who have confirmed they would support the legislation.

Senator Thom Tillis, RNC, He said Wednesday that he is “likely” to vote for it, while Senator Lisa Murkowski, Republican of Alaska, pointed out They can be open to supporting legislation.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Republican-K. He said Tuesday he is keeping his options open.

Republican Senators Kevin Cramer of North Dakota, Josh Hawley of Missouri, Marco Rubio of Florida and Ted Cruz of Texas said they would not support the legislation. Other GOP senators, including Mitt Romney of Utah, Joni Ernst of Iowa and Cynthia Loomis of Wyoming, declined to comment on the bills.

Senator Tammy Baldwin, Democrat of Wisconsin, the first LGBT person elected to the Senate, leads negotiations with Senate Republicans. She told NBC News she was optimistic the legislation could get 10 Republican votes.

“Perhaps every senator knows the members of his community, their family members, and the congregation in the church; they know husbands who have been married and know the rights and protections,” Baldwin said. “And I hope they will be inclined to protect the continuation of those rights by passing the Respect for Marriage Act.”

Baldwin added that she was “extremely pleased” with the Republicans’ support in the House.

“I would have liked to see all the House Republicans do the right thing, but 47 is a good thing,” Baldwin said. “It’s really nice to be able to talk to my fellow GOP senators and say, ‘Hey, from your state, three Republicans voted for this,’ or ‘From your state, that was overwhelmingly supported by the state delegation.'” “

While support for same-sex marriage has grown among Republican voters and some Republican lawmakers, The latest platform of the National Republican Party Enacted in 2016 and renewed in 2020 Includes at least five references to marriage as being exclusively between a man and a woman.

Republicans have also largely stood in opposition to pro-gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex legislation while simultaneously pushing for anti-gay action in state legislatures in recent years.

Last year, home The Equality Act was passed A landmark LGBT civil rights bill that would ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity — backed by just three Republicans. The bill then stalled in the Republican-led Senate later that year.

a Historical figure for anti-LGBTQ metrics, more than 340, were inducted into state legislatures this year, according to the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest LGBT advocacy group. The legislation consists largely of measures that would restrict transgender athletes from competing on school sports teams that match their gender identity, access to gender assertive care for transgender people, and education of subjects related to sexual orientation or gender identity in school.

Magney, a political scientist, has argued that same-sex marriage stands out among other pro-LGBT policies and reasons because of its conservative and religious roots.

“What is more traditional than marriage?” Magni said. From a conservative perspective, we do not demolish and rebuild social institutions or structures. We are only opening a traditional institution to a class of citizens who were previously excluded from it.”

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