Bringing Together Conservative Voices

12 Republicans vote with Democrats to advance bill codifying same-sex marriage into federal law

One dozen Republican senators joined their Democratic colleagues on Wednesday to advance legislation protecting same-sex marriages.

Who are those Republicans?

By a vote of 62–37, the Senate advanced the Respect for Marriage Act, which would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act and codify into federal law same-sex and interracial marriages.

The Republican senators who support the bill are:

Roy Blunt (Mo.)
Richard M. Burr (N.C.)
Shelley Moore Capito (W.Va.)
Susan Collins (Maine)
Joni Ernst (Iowa)
Cynthia Lummis (Wyo.)
Lisa Murkowski (Alaska)
Rob Portman (Ohio)
Dan Sullivan (Alaska)
Mitt Romney (Utah)
Thom Tillis (N.C.)
Todd Young (Ind.)

Congress began working to pass the bill this summer after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.

Pressure to codify the right to same-sex and interracial marriage was based on unrealistic fear that the Supreme Court may overturn landmark cases that legalized both types of marriage unions. But Justice Samuel Alito, who wrote the opinion overturning Roe, made clear the court’s ruling would not impact same-sex or interracial marriage.

Alito wrote:

The Solicitor General suggests that overruling Roe and Casey would threaten the protection of other rights under the Due Process Clause. The Court emphasizes that this decision concerns the constitutional right to abortion and no other right. Nothing in this opinion should be understood to cast doubt on precedents that do not concern abortion.

The House passed the Respect for Marriage Act in July by a vote of 267–157, with the approval of 47 Republicans.

Before the bill becomes law, the Senate must formally approve it and send it back to the House for approval on amendments before it can head to President Joe Biden’s desk.

Why did Republicans support it?

Romney, for example, explained he voted for the bill on legal principle, though he personally disagrees with same-sex relationships.

“While I believe in traditional marriage, Obergefell is and has been the law of the land upon which LGBTQ individuals have relied,” Romney said in a statement. “This legislation provides certainty to many LGBTQ Americans, and it signals that Congress—and I—esteem and love all of our fellow Americans equally.”

The Utah senator also praised the bill’s protections of religious liberties.

In her statement, Collins said she supported the bill because it protects against discrimination and strengthens protections for religious liberty.

“This bill recognizes the unique and extraordinary importance of marriage on an individual and societal level,” Collins said in a statement. “It would help promote equality, prevent discrimination, and protect the rights of Americans in same-sex and interracial marriages. It would accomplish these goals while maintaining—and indeed strengthening—important religious liberty and conscience protections.”

The bill gained significant bipartisan support after a small bipartisan group of senators supported an amendment to protect religious liberties.