Here Are the 12 Republican Senators Who Just Sided with Democrats to Advance Gay Marriage Bill
With 12 Republican senators joining Democrats, a bill to protect same-sex marriages cleared a major procedural barrier Wednesday by a 62-37 vote.
The bill requires that marriages that are valid under the laws of any one state be recognized as such by every other state, according to The Washington Post.
The bill repeals the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, which declared marriage to be between one man and one woman and allowed states to reject marriages that other states ruled valid. The law was ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 2015 in the Obergefell v. Hodges decision, but had remained on the books.
The 12 Senate Republicans who supported the bill, according to The Hill, are Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Rob Portman of Ohio, Thom Tillis of North Carolina, Roy Blunt of Missouri, Richard Burr of North Carolina, Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Dan Sullivan of Alaska, Todd Young of Indiana, Joni Ernst of Iowa and Mitt Romney of Utah.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell was among the Republicans opposing the bill, according to ABC.
The bill had support from several church and religious groups, including the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Post reported.
“The doctrine of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints related to marriage between a man and a woman is well known and will remain unchanged,” it said in a statement.
“We are grateful for the continuing efforts of those who work to ensure the Respect for Marriage Act includes appropriate religious freedom protections while respecting the law and preserving the rights of our LGBTQ brothers and sisters. We believe this approach is the way forward,” the statement said.
When the initial version of the bill passed the House over the summer, 47 House Republicans joined Democrats to pass it, according to The New York Times.
The Senate must still give the amended bill passage. The bill then goes back to the House for its approval of the changes made in the Senate. It will then go to President Biden, who has indicated he will sign it.
The law was developed after Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas suggested in the opinion in which the Roe v. Wade abortion ruling was overturned that the 2015 ruling allowing gay marriage should also be examined.
Some have argued the bill is not necessary.
“I don’t know why we’re doing that bill; there’s no threat to its status in America,” Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida said, according to the Times. “I know plenty of gay people in Florida that are pissed off about gas prices.”
Republican Sen. John Cornyn of Texas said the bill was an attempt to scare Americans “that somehow that decision by the Supreme Court is in jeopardy,” the Times reported. “I don’t believe it is.”
One Senate revision to the bill included an amendment ensuring that churches, universities and other nonprofit religious organizations would not be punished for refusing to recognize same-sex marriages and that churches could not be compelled to marry same-sex couples.
As noted by ABC, the law covers interracial marriages as well as those of same-sex couples.
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