House Republicans fight against codifying protections for same-sex marriage

The House passed the Respect for Marriage Act yesterday, requiring states to acknowledge same-sex marriages conducted in other states should the Supreme Court overturn Obergefell v. Hodges.

  • Obergefell v. Hodges was a 2015 Supreme Court case that made same-sex marriages legal in all states.

169 Republicans voted against the Respect for Marriage Act. The 39 House Republicans who voted for the bill include: Reps. Armstrong (ND), Bacon (NB), Calvert (CA), Cammack (FL), Carey (OH), Cheney (WY), Curtis (UT), Davis (IL), Emmer (MN), Fitzpatrick (PA), Gallagher (WI), Garbarino (NY), Garcia (CA), Gimenez (FL), Gonzales (TX), Gonzalez (OH), Herrera Beutler (WA), Hinson (IA), Issa (CA), Jacobs (NY), Joyce (OH), Katko (NY), Mace (SC), Malliotakis (NY), Meijer (MI), Miller-Meeks (IA), Moore (UT), Newhouse (WA), Obernolte (CA), Rice (SC), Simpson (ID), Stefanik (NY), Steil (WI), Stewart (UT), Turner (OH), Upton (MI), Valadao (CA), Wagner (MO), and Waltz (FL).

Prominent Democrats, including Rep. Jerry Nadler (NY), chair of the House Judiciary Committee, and outgoing Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (CA), referenced Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’ threat to same-sex marriage as reason to vote for the Respect for Marriage Act (clip):

Pelosi: Marriage equality has been a law across our country since 2015, and proudly, even longer in the state of California. Indeed, my thoughts today are with Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin, two friends and iconic trail trailblazers. I brought their picture to talk about freedom and dignity and respect so many times. Their enduring love made history as they joyfully said their vows in San Francisco in city hall. In the years since, the same euphoria has blessed couples and bonded families in every corner of America.

Pelosi: And yet, since the Supreme Court’s monstrous decision overturning Roe v. Wade, right-wing forces have set their sights on this basic personal freedom. In his concurring opinion, Clarence Thomas explicitly called the court to reconsider the ruling in Obergefell — we must take Justice Thomas at his word and the hateful movement behind him at their word. We must act now on a bipartisan, bicameral basis to combat bigoted extremism and uphold same-sex and interracial marriages. Once signed into law, the Respect for Marriage Act will help prevent right-wing extremists from upending the lives of loving couples, traumatizing kids across the country, and turning back the clock on hard-work progress.

Republicans like Rep. Jim Jordan (OH) took to the floor to defend the conservatives on the Supreme Court, saying that the Respect for Marriage Act is unnecessary because Obergefell isn’t going to be overturned (clip):

Jordan: The Democrats want Americans to believe that the supreme court at any moment — the chairman just referenced this — at any moment could step in and overturn its opinions in Obergefell and Loving. It’s just not true. The Supreme Court is not poised to overturn its opinions in either of those decisions. Just look what the court has said: “The Dobbs opinion does not undermine other substantive due process rights in any way.” The court later reiterated that the Dobbs decision should not be misunderstood or mischaracterized to cast doubt on precedence that do not concern abortion. The court condemned the alarmist idea that the Dobbs decision would lead to the overturning of other cases as perhaps designed to stoke unfounded fears that our decision will impair those other rights. It is that unfounded fear that brings us here today. Democrats have conjured up this nonexistent threat based on one line in Justice Thomas’ concurrence in Dobbs. They are deliberately misrepresenting what Justice Thomas wrote…

Jordan: For years the Democrats have been playing a dangerous game with the court. They want Americans to believe that the court struggles with its ethics. Simply not true. This bill is the latest installment of the Democrats’ campaign to intimidate the highest court in our land. They have engaged in a smear campaign against sitting justices and nominees…In fact, later today the Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing to again suggest the court has somehow been compromised based on a totally unsubstantiated allegation that Justice Alito leaked information eight years ago about an opinion in the Hobby Lobby case. Just one problem: Justice Alito denies its allegation…Democrats are determined to not let the truth get in the way of their story and their intimidation tactics on the court. This is not the way we’re supposed to operate. I hope that we can vote this bill down. I hope it does not pass because I think it is dangerous and takes the country in the wrong direction.

Others, like Rep. Bob Good (R-VA) blasted the bill for “disrespecting God’s definition of marriage.” (clip)

Good: The fact is, traditional biblical marriage is the foundation of a strong society, a strong culture. I’ll say it once again: Almost everything that plagues our society is a failure to follow God’s design for marriage, morality, and the family. The perfect immutable God knows what he’s doing…God’s perfect design is indeed marriage between one man and one woman for life and it doesn’t matter what you think or I think, that’s what the Bible says.

Republican Rep. Vicky Hartzler (MO) cried on the House floor while imploring her fellow lawmakers to vote against the Respect for Marriage Act (clip):

Hartzler: I rise to adamantly oppose the ‘Disrespect’ for Marriage Act. This unnecessary, misguided legislation not only disrespects the importance of traditional marriage for the health of a family but also disrespects people and organizations of faith who have the constitutional right to carry out their mission in accordance with their most deeply held beliefs. With the crisis at the border, inflation skyrocketing, and a federal budget that’s nowhere to be seen just weeks before Christmas, Democrats have made it abundantly clear that this disrespectful policy is their priority. Let’s be clear, Obergefell is not in danger. But people and institutions of faith are. This bill only serves to further demonize biblical values by establishing a private right of action against organizations who believe in natural marriage.