Almost four dozen Republican House representatives sided with Democrats in passing legislation that would codify recognition of same-sex marriages.
The Democratic majority House of Representatives passed the Respect for Marriage Act 267-157 on Tuesday with the backing of 47 Republicans.
Notable Republicans who backed the bill include New York Rep. Elise Stefanik, the House Republican Conference chairwoman and the third-ranking GOP leader in the House, as well as Reps. Liz Cheney of Wyoming; Adam Kinzinger of Illinois; Maria Elvira Salazar of Florida; Peter Meijer of Michigan; Lee Zeldin of New York; and Nancy Mace of South Carolina.
The others were:
Reps. Kelly Armstrong (N.D.); Don Bacon (Neb.); Cliff Bentz (Ore.); Ken Calvert (Calif.); Kat Cammack (Fla.); Mike Carey (Ohio); John Curtis (Utah); Rodney Davis (Ill.); Mario Diaz-Balart (Fla.); Tom Emmer (Minn.); Brian Fitzpatrick (Pa.); Andrew Garbarino (N.Y.); Mike Garcia (Calif.); Carlos Gimenez (Fla.); Tony Gonzales (Texas); Anthony Gonzalez (Ohio); Ashley Hinson (Iowa); Darrell Issa (Calif.); Chris Jacobs (N.Y.); David Joyce (Ohio); John Katko (N.Y.); Nicole Malliotakis (N.Y.); Brian Mast (Fla.); Dan Meuser (Pa.); Mariannette Miller-Meeks (Iowa); Blake Moore (Utah); Dan Newhouse (Wash.); Jay Obernolte (Calif.); Burgess Owens (Utah); Scott Perry (Pa.); Tom Rice (S.C.); Mike Simpson (Idaho); Bryan Steil (Wis.); Chris Stewart (Utah); Mike Turner (Ohio); Fred Upton (Mich.); David Valadao (Calif.); Jefferson Van Drew (N.J.); Ann Wagner (Mo.); and Michael Waltz (Fla.).
Democrats cheered loudly as the final tally was announced, Politico reported.
Republican Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Republican Minority Whip Steve Scalise voted no.
If it passes the Senate and is signed into law, the Respect for Marriage Act would grant same-sex marriages statutory authority.
The legislation would repeal legal provisions that hitherto defined marriage as a relationship between a man and a woman and replace them with those that recognized same-sex marriages. The Supreme Court declared state laws against same-sex marriage unconstitutional in 2015.
The act would also repeal and replace legal provisions that define a spouse as a member of the opposite sex to accommodate same-sex marriage.
“This bill makes crystal clear that every couple and their children has the fundamental freedom to take pride in their marriage and have their marriage respected under the law,” Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said during her remarks on the House floor, according to Politico.
“If gay couples want to be as happily or miserably married as straight couples, more power to them. Trust me, I’ve tried it more than once,” Mace wrote on Twitter after the vote.
If gay couples want to be as happily or miserably married as straight couples, more power to them. Trust me, I've tried it more than once 😂 https://t.co/0zi54apZNX
— Rep. Nancy Mace (@RepNancyMace) July 19, 2022
The bill comes after LGBT activists expressed concerns over Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’ concurring opinion for Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization that overturned Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that established the right to an abortion. Thomas wrote that the Supreme Court should reconsider Obergefell v. Hodge, the Supreme Court decision that granted same-sex couples the right to marry.
He also cited the 1967 Griswold v. Connecticut decision that threw out a state law against contraception for unmarried couples, as well as the 2003 Lawrence v. Texas decision that invalidated laws against homosexual activity.
“In future cases, we should reconsider all of this Court’s substantive due process precedents, including Griswold, Lawrence, and Obergefell,” Thomas wrote in his concurring opinion. “Because any substantive due process decision is ‘demonstrably erroneous’ … we have a duty to ‘correct the error’ established in those precedents.”
If passed, the Respect for Marriage Act will ensure same-sex couples can still enter into legally recognized marriages should Obergefell v. Hodges be overturned.
Same-sex marriages have been increasingly accepted in the United States in recent years as many Republicans and even some mainstream Christian denominations backed away from their commitments to defending traditional values to accommodate changing cultural norms.
According to a June report from the Pew Research Center, about 71 percent of Americans support same-sex marriages, with weekly churchgoers being the “last holdouts” of resistance to the erosion of biblical values on marriage.
How the bill’s voting would play out in the 50-50 Senate was unclear, according to Politico. The Senate’s “Democratic leaders remained noncommittal on Tuesday” on whether they would take up the bill.”
Democratic Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin expressed support for the legislation but was unsure if there would be enough time for the chamber to consider the legislation.
Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer did not say if the Senate would consider the bill. However, Schumer said, “we’re going to look at everything we can do,” according to Politico.