Republicans pressed on same-sex marriage protections

Legislation passed by the House codifying protections for same-sex marriage is dividing Republican lawmakers in Congress after support for marriage equality hit an all-time high last month.

Forty-seven of the 211 House Republicans voted for the bill on Tuesday, which Democrats introduced amid fears the Supreme Court would reverse its 2015 ruling legalizing same-sex marriage as it did the right to abortion.

Pressure is now mounting on the Senate to pass the legislation, which has garnered the support of a handful of Republican senators.

“I want to introduce this bill and we are working to get the Senate Republican support needed to ensure its passage,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (DN.Y.) said Wednesday.

However, Schumer has not committed to introducing the bill soon. Democrats are rushing to pass several more pieces of legislation before the annual August recess next month, including a package that would cut health care prices.

Scheduling a vote on the bill would be an easy win for Democrats whether or not it passes. At a minimum, it would highlight GOP divisions ahead of November’s midterm elections.

Only four Republican senators have expressed support or openness to codifying same-sex marriage protections: Susan Collins (Maine), Rob Portman (Ohio), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), and Thom Tillis (North Carolina).

Supporters of the bill would need at least six more GOP votes to break an equally divided Senate filibuster.

But many Republicans declined to take a position on the House legislation on Wednesday, dodging the question by saying they had yet to read the four-page bill. Others called it unnecessary, saying there are currently no active threats to same-sex marriage.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who faces re-election this year, called the effort to codify same-sex marriage protections a “waste of time.”

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“It’s the law of the land,” Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) has said repeatedly when asked if he would support the bill.

The Iowa senator did not respond when a reporter noted that Roe v. Wade was also the law of the land.

“Given that the law is settled on this … I don’t think we need to lose any sleep over this unless there is a development that suggests the law is going to be changed,” added Sen. Mitt Romney (R- Utah). .

Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) chastised reporters for even asking him about it.

“I’m so frustrated that the press is spending so much time on it. They’re trying to distract from inflation,” he said of Democrats.

Several Republicans dodged questions about federal protections for same-sex marriage even as they voiced support.

“I think there’s a difference between marriage as a sacrament and a legal marriage and so if somebody wants to do that type of partnership, I’m not opposed,” said Sen. Mike Rounds (RS. D.).

Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) said he saw no need to “legislate” same-sex marriage, before adding, “I want to live life the way you want. It is a free country. When asked if he supported same-sex marriage, Tuberville replied, “Yeah, if that’s what you want to do, fine.”

A few Republicans have made it clear that they oppose codifying same-sex marriage protections.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who faces re-election this year, called the effort “a waste of time” and said it was not a priority amid high consumer prices.

“But I know a lot of gay people in Florida who are pissed off about gas prices,” Rubio said.

Senator Lindsey Graham (RS.C.), meanwhile, said he supported the Defense of Marriage Act, the 1996 law that defined marriage between a man and a woman. The House bill codifying protections for same-sex marriage would repeal DOMA.

One key indicator yet to weigh in: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.). He told reporters he would wait to comment until a bill was introduced in the Senate.

Some Democrats want to shorten the August vacation if that’s what it takes to pass same-sex marriage protections.

“I think it would be really good to do that, I was encouraged by the number of Republican votes yesterday [in the House]said Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.).


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