Yesterday, the U.S. Congress took a major step forward in preserving the rights of same-sex couples by passing the Respect For Marriage Act, which would codify gay marriage into law. While all House Democrats voted for the bill, only 47 Republicans voted for the legislation. All the Texas Republicans except for one, Rep. Tony Gonzales, voted against the bill.
Fears that gay marriage could be reversed intensified after the Supreme Court reversed Roe v. Wade last month, and Justice Clarence Thomas authored a blistering concurrence that opened the door for rolling back marriage equality, access to contraception, and gay rights. The drumbeat to reverse Obergefell v. Hodges, the landmark case that enshrined gay marriage in 2015, from many Republicans has been hard to ignore.
Ted Cruz was recently on his podcast saying that the Obergefell decision was wrongly issued. Indicted Attorney General Ken Paxton also said that he would be willing to uphold anti-sodomy laws, like Lawrence v. Texas, if the Supreme Court revisited the issue.
Before yesterday’s vote, Rep. Colin Allred spoke passionately about the need to protect the marriages of same-sex couples. “It took us far too long to recognize the right of same-sex couples to marry, but then seven years since it was, millions of Americans have come to expect that they too will be able to fall in love and marry the person of their choosing,” he said on the house floor.
Several Texas Republicans also spoke before the vote, but in a far different manner. Rep. Chip Roy went on an ultra-rightwing show to denounce the vote, and to claim that marriage is between a man and a woman for “pro-creation (sic).”
Claudia Zapata, who is running against Roy, responded with a screenshot of the definition of marriage from the Dictionary, which includes same-sex marriage.
While the Respect For Marriage Act cleared the House, its fate in the Senate is unclear. Senator Dick Durbin, the Majority Whip of the Senate, told a reporter at the U.S. Capitol that scheduling a vote would be challenging. “We have more priorities than we have time, he said.
Rob Portman, the retiring Republican Senator from Ohio, said he would co-sponsor the Senate version of the bill. Senator Thom Tillis, who is also retiring in North Carolina, told reporters he would consider voting for the legislation.Given his recent comments, it seems unlikely that Ted Cruz would vote for the Senate version of the Respect For Marriage Act. John Cornyn also told a reporter that he would oppose the legislation.
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A longtime writer and journalist, Jessica was thrilled to join the Texas Signal where she could utilize her unique perspective on politics and culture. As the Features and Opinion Editor, she is responsible for coordinating editorials and segments from diverse authors. She is also the host of the podcast the Tex Mix, as well as the co-host for the weekly SignalCast. Jessica attended Harvard College, is a onetime fitness blogger, and has now transitioned to recreational runner (for which her joints are thankful).