Wisconsin Republican Ron Johnson, some of the GOP who see good politics in gay marriage bill – WIZM 92.3FM 1410AM
WASHINGTON (AP) — A conservative Republican senator was nearly adamant when asked whether he would support legislation to protect gay marriage.
Ron Johnson of Wisconsin told reporters, “I see no reason to oppose it, a vote bringing Democrats closer to an unexpected victory as they move to protect same-sex marriage and other rights when the Supreme Court reversed Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion nationwide
Johnson’s answer, which came after 47 Republicans in the House voted for the bill last week, reflected a clear shift in the GOP’s position after decades of fighting same-sex marriage. Ten years ago, most Republicans proudly believed that marriage could only take place between one man and one woman. Now, with some Republican support, a federal law protecting gay marriage in an election year is within reach.
A sign of potential support from Johnson – arguably the weakest Republican senator up for re-election this year – comes in the form of another Wisconsin senator, Tammy Baldwin, accused of persuading the 10 Republicans needed to vote for the bill. The dominant Democrat. Baldwin, who is the first openly gay senator and has been working on gay rights issues since first entering state politics in 1986, says “the world has changed,” especially after the Supreme Court’s 2015 Upholding same-sex marriage since the decision of Kay Obergefels v. Hodges.
A Gallup poll conducted in May showed widespread support for same-sex marriage, with 71% of American adults saying they think such unions should be recognized by law, including 55% of Republicans. Voting in Wisconsin reflects a national poll that found 54% of Republicans in the state say they support same-sex marriage in the Marquette Law School election from April. In May 2014, the state poll found the support of only 23% of Republicans.
“People began to see that the sky hadn’t fallen,” Baldwin said in an interview, and the 2015 ruling provided legal protection to families who didn’t have them before. She says every member of Congress now has friends, family or employees who are openly gay.
“It’s probably the biggest influence on where people land,” she said. “It’s a vote of conscience.”
The bill, pending in the Senate, would repeal the Clinton-era Defense of Marriage Act, which allowed states to refuse to recognize same-sex marriage and instead required states to recognize all marriages that were legal where They were done. The new Respect for Marriage Act would protect interracial marriages by requiring states to recognize legal marriages regardless of “sex, race, ethnicity, or national origin.”
A vote could come as soon as next week, but it will more likely take place in September when Congress returns from its August recess.
Republican Sens. Rob Portman of Ohio, Susan Collins of Maine and Thom Tillis of North Carolina have also said they will vote for the legislation; Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski has also supported gay marriage in the past. Several other Republicans, including Utah Sen. Mitt Romney, Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt, Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst and Indiana Sen. Mike Braun, have said they are undecided.
Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell has been particularly silent, who has declined to comment until Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer votes.
Baldwin and other advocates say more GOP senators are quietly considering the bill. Democrats need 10 Republican votes to overcome a filibuster and get a bill through the Senate 50-50.
A series of Republicans voted for the bill in the House, including New York Representative Alice Stefnik, the No. 3 House Republican; Pennsylvania Representative Scott Perry, chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus; and all four Republican members of Utah’s congressional delegation.
Still, most House Republicans voted against it, and similar dynamics are expected in the Senate.
Republicans opposing the bill give several reasons, most of which argue that the Supreme Court is unlikely to overturn Obergfels and that Senate Democrats are doing politics by keeping the bill on the floor. Democrats pointed to Row, agreeing with Justice Clarence Thomas’ June decision in which she said High Court rulings protecting same-sex marriage and couples’ right to use contraception should also be reconsidered.
When asked about their opposition, many Republicans have focused on process rather than substance.
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who is up for re-election this year, told CNN last week that he thinks the bill is a “waste of time.” He later said that he believed “there is zero chance, less than zero chance, that the Supreme Court or anyone is going to outlaw same-sex marriage in this country.”
Even Johnson blamed Democrats because he said he was unlikely to oppose it, arguing that it was settled law and the vote was unnecessary. He said that he still believed that marriage should be between a man and a woman. But “society has well accepted it and has moved on,” he said.
Other Republicans have made similar arguments, departing from the more ideologically harsh statements of previous years.
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who would vote against the bill, said he believes that “reasonable people can disagree with him” that marriage should be between a man and a woman, “and to the diversity of views on that question. There is space. “
North Dakota Sen. Kevin Cramer says he will vote against it “unless I can be forced somehow.” He says that he believes because of his evangelical Christian faith that marriage is between a man and a woman, but “not that I feel very strongly about it.”
Cramer said he thinks the Senate will get the 60 votes needed to pass the bill. “It’s more that people are ambivalent about it,” he said.
Portman, who has been pushing for more votes from his party, noted that public opinion has changed significantly over the years. He has supported gay marriage since 2013, when he announced that he had a son gay and believed that people should be respected for who they are.
He faced criticism from some fellow Republicans at the time, but says people now turn to him more often to thank him for their support.
It’s not just Republicans who have evolved on the issue. Former President Barack Obama did not publicly support gay marriage until 2012, which was pushed by then-Vice President Joe Biden, who had come out in support a few days earlier. When the Defense Act passed the Senate in 1996, only 14 Democrats opposed it.
David Stacey, the lead advocate for the Human Rights campaign, says advocates of same-sex marriage faced several setbacks in the early 2000s, including state ballot measures to ban same-sex marriage. But he says he believes Republicans created a backlash of sorts by trying to use the issue against Democrats.
While advocates lost many of those fights, “we were educating the public and advancing public opinion,” Stacey says.