Republican Senators could provide votes to codify marriage equality
Senate Democratic Majority Leader Chuck Schumer vowed to put the same-sex marriage protection bill to a full floor vote quickly, after it passed the House Tuesday by a strong 267-157 margin, including 49 Republican votes.
While there aren’t currently enough votes in the Senate to pass the bill, at first glance it’s looking like it may become possible. The legislation, which does not make same-sex marriage the law of the land, protects existing marriages at the federal and state level.
Reporters are polling GOP Senators, and finding more support than some may have originally anticipated.
“As of today, only 4 Republicans expressed support/openness for codifying protections for gay marriage,” reports HuffPost senior politics reporter Igor Bobic. He says the four Senators are Susan Collins (ME), Rob Portman (OH), Lisa Murkowski (AK), and Thom Tillis (NC).
But Bobic also talked to Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA), who serves in Republican Senate leadership. She suggested she might be a yes.
“Ernst says she hasn’t seen the House bill but is ‘keeping an open mind.’ Asked if she supports gay marriage, Ernst said: ‘I have a good number of very close friends that are same-sex married.'”
Bobic reports Sen. Mike Rounds of South Dakota said “he doesn’t think House gay marriage bill is necessary,” but quotes him saying: “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. Roy Blunt of Missouri “says he supports gay marriage but wants to look at the House bill. He noted it’s currently protected by the court.”
Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) is “noncommittal,” Bobic reports.
“Given the fact that the law is settled on this,” Romney said, “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.”
When Romney was the Governor of Massachusetts that state became the first in the nation to make same-sex marriage legal. Romney was reportedly opposed to meeting with LGBTQ activists but finally did, and reportedly was surprised to learn why they wanted marriage to be legal.
“I didn’t know you had families,” Gov. Romney told the gay parents in 2004.
While the Supreme Court has not overturned its 2015 Obegefell ruling, Justice Clarence Thomas stated in his concurring opinion overturning Roe v. Wade that rulings finding constitutional rights for same-sex marriage, same-sex relations, and contraception were wrongly-decided “errors” that should be “reviewed.”
Ernst, Blunt, and Rounds could bring the number of Republicans to seven. Ten would be needed to avoid a filibuster, assuming every Senate Democrat votes yes.
Bobic notes Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is a no.
“I will support the Defense of Marriage Act,” he said, referring to the law the Supreme Court overturned, which barred the federal government from recognizing legal same-sex marriages and allowed states to not recognize them as well.
Meanwhile, CNN’s Manu Raju reports Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) is a hard no.
“Marco Rubio told me that he is a NO on House’s same-sex marriage bill, calling it a ‘stupid waste of time.'”
Rubio ran for re-election after losing the 2016 GOP nomination for president and after promising if he was not elected president he would never run for any elected office ever again. He reneged on that promise in the days after the Pulse nightclub massacre, which he cited as the reason he was needed back in the Senate. At the time it was the the deadliest anti-LGBTQ hate crime in America, the second-worst mass shooting by a single gunman in American history, and the second deadliest terror attack in America, after the 9/11 attacks.
Sen. Rubio has not advanced any gun safety legislation nor has he voted for any LGBTQ civil rights bill. In fact, Rubio voiced strong support for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ “Don’t Say Gay” bill. And last month he voted against the Senate’s gun safety bill that passed with a bipartisan majority of 65-33.
Senator Rubio late last week announced legislation that would require men to provide child support from the moment of conception, effectively making the law of the land that fetuses are full human beings afforded all the rights of every other person in America.
Pulse nightclub survivor Brandon Wolf, now the press secretary for Equality Florida, blasted Sen. Rubio.
“The man who used the murders of 49 mostly-LGBTQ people of color to revive his flailing political career says codifying marriage equality is a ‘stupid waste of time’? Marco Rubio’s career disgraces those whose backs he stepped on to get there.”
UPDATE: 2:29 PM ET –
After publication CNN’s Manu Raju reports: “Growing expectation in Senate that there will be 60 votes to break a filibuster on gay marriage. While 10 Rs haven’t said they would vote YES, it’s clear momentum is moving in that direction based on interviews. Thune, who is undecided, thinks it may pass.”
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