Codifying same-sex marriage should be a 'no brainer' for Republicans: GOP strategist

Codifying same-sex marriage should be a 'no brainer' for Republicans: GOP strategist
Image via Creative Commons.

When the U.S. Supreme Court’s radical-right majority overturned Roe v. Wade with its ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, Justice Clarence Thomas wrote that the High Court should also “reconsider” right-to-privacy rulings that offered national protection for contraception (1965’s Griswold v. Connecticut) and gay rights (2003’s Lawrence v. Texas, 2015’s Obergefell v. Hodges). Countless Democrats are campaigning aggressively on abortion rights, and some of them are also calling for same-sex marriage to be codified.

GOP strategist John Feehery has taken notice, and he is advising fellow Republicans to support protections for same-sex marriage. According to National Public Radio (NPR) reporters Manuela López Restrepo and Sarah McCammon, Feehery has been “working to drum up support” for a bill in Congress that would “codify marriage equality into law.”

Feehery told NPR, “I do think that ultimately, you don't want to take away the ability for people to get married once you gave them that ability. Most Republican (voters) are focused on many other issues and will not vote against any Republican who votes for this bill.”

READ MORE: Legal experts expect major chaos if the Supreme Court overturns Obergefell

Obergefell was the decision that, seven years ago, struck down prohibitions of same-sex marriage at the state level and made same-sex marriage a national right just as Roe made abortion a national right in 1973. If the High Court were to overturn Obergefell — a decision that Thomas voted against and believes was wrongly decided — it would not be a national ban of same-sex marriage but rather, would send it back to the states to decide just as Dobbs did with abortion. And some Democrats have been pushing the Respect for Marriage Act, which if passed by Congress and signed into law by President Joe Biden, would codify same-sex marriage as a national right.

Feehery believes that for Republicans, supporting the Respect for Marriage Act would be a smart move politically. During a recent interview with the Washington Post, Feehery described the bill as a “no brainer” for Republicans. And he believes that it would help Republican Senate candidates in states where some voters are still angry over the Dobbs decision.

Feehery told the Post, “For a lot of these senators, it takes a little bit of the edge off.”

Far-right evangelical Christian fundamentalist groups like Focus on the Family and the Family Research Council consider Obergefell an attack on religious freedom, which it isn’t; no church is obligated to perform same-sex marriages if it doesn’t want to. Obergefell makes that perfectly clear. When the now-retired Justice Anthony Kennedy — a right-wing libertarian appointed by President Ronald Reagan — the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and other justices voted “yes” in the Obergefell ruling, they made it clear that marrying gay couples would be an option for churches but not a requirement.

READ MORE: Ted Cruz says Obergefell was 'wrong when it was decided'

Even among Republican voters, there is more support for same-sex marriage than opposition to it. A Gallup poll, in 2021, found that 55 percent of registered Republicans supported same-sex marriage. And Feehery is stressing that codifying same-sex marriage in Congress would not violate religious freedom.

Feehery told NPR, “There's a vocal minority amongst the Republican base that doesn't want this to happen…. I think there are some valid worries here that a church will be sued if they refuse to perform a same-sex marriage in their church. I think that if there's an accommodation that can be made that protects the ability of churches to practice their religion freely but also allows people legally to get into binding contracts that are recognized in all 50 states, you know, we can find that way to achieve both ends."

READ MORE: With Roe overturned, Clarence Thomas is now preparing for a full-frontal assault on contraception, gay rights

Understand the importance of honest news ?

So do we.

The past year has been the most arduous of our lives. The Covid-19 pandemic continues to be catastrophic not only to our health - mental and physical - but also to the stability of millions of people. For all of us independent news organizations, it’s no exception.

We’ve covered everything thrown at us this past year and will continue to do so with your support. We’ve always understood the importance of calling out corruption, regardless of political affiliation.

We need your support in this difficult time. Every reader contribution, no matter the amount, makes a difference in allowing our newsroom to bring you the stories that matter, at a time when being informed is more important than ever. Invest with us.

Make a one-time contribution to Alternet All Access, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.

Click to donate by check.

DonateDonate by credit card
Donate by Paypal
{{ }}
@2022 - AlterNet Media Inc. All Rights Reserved. - "Poynter" fonts provided by