After the House passed the Respect for Marriage Act on Tuesday, all eyes are now on the Senate to see if it follows suit. At least 10 Republican Senators need to vote in favor of the bill for it to become law.
One person not be supporting the legislation is Florida Senator Marco Rubio. He told Punchbowl News reporter Christian Hall yesterday that the bill addressed a “non-issue” and there was no need to take steps to protect same-sex marriage.
“I don’t know why we’re doing that bill, there’s no threat to its status in America.
“But I know plenty of gay people in Florida that are pissed off about gas prices,” he added.
CNN’s Manu Raju also asked him about it. Republican Rubio told him the legislation was a “stupid waste of time.”
Marco Rubio told me that he is a NO on House’s same-sex marriage bill, calling it a “stupid waste of time”
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) July 20, 2022
The House vote came about after the Supreme Court decided last month to overturn Roe v Wade, sending the issue of abortion back to individual states. Many of those states have since made access to abortion highly restricted.
Justice Clarence Thomas, in his opinion notes on that ruling, said the court should look again at Obergefell v. Hodges. That 2015 SCOTUS ruling legalized same-sex marriage across the US.
To help protect equal marriage, members of Congress introduced the Respect for Marriage Act in both chambers. It repeals the Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1996.
DOMA defined marriage as a union between one man and one woman. It has technically remained in place, despite the SCOTUS ruling of 2015.
If SCOTUS was to reverse Obergefell, states could potentially use DOMA to block same-sex marriage.
Bipartisan support for Respect for Marriage act
The vote in the House was passed in a 267-157 vote. This included 47 Republicans joining all Democrats in supporting the measure. However, 157 voted against it.
Six Republicans from Florida voted for the bill, including Reps. Kat Cammack, Mario Diaz-Balart, Carlos Gimenez, Brian Mast, Maria Elvira Salazar, and Mike Waltz.
For the bill to pass the Senate, which is split 50-50 Democrat-Republican, it needs 60 votes in favor.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D) said on Wednesday he was “really impressed by how much bipartisan support it got in the House.”
John Thune, the senate’s No. 2 Republican, said he thinks the bill could receive enough GOP support.
“I wouldn’t be surprised. We haven’t assessed [the vote count] at all, yet,” he told reporters. “But as a general matter, I think that is something people in the country have come to accept.”
Other Republican senators have signaled they’d support the legislation. Senator Susan Collins co-sponsored the Senate version of the House bill, and Senator Thom Tillis said on CNN that he’d “probably” vote yes.
Republican Senator Rob Portman also co-sponsored the bill and said it sends “an important message.”
White House urges Senate to pass the bill
Yesterday, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters that President Biden wanted the Senate to move quickly and pass the bill.
“He is a proud champion of the right for people to marry whom they love and is grateful to see bipartisan support for that right,” Jean-Pierre said. “He believes it is non-negotiable and that the Senate should act swiftly to get this to the president’s desk.”
She added, “He wants to sign this. We need this legislation, and we urge Congress to move as quickly as possible, and it’s something the vast majority of the country supports.”