House Republicans who broke ranks for the marriage bill
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A closer look at the House Republicans who broke ranks for the marriage bill

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A closer look at the House Republicans who broke ranks for the marriage bill
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History was made last month when 47 House Republicans joined all Democrats in passing legislation that would federally protect same-sex marriages and roll back a 25-year-old law that defines marriage in the United States as between one man and one woman.

While an overwhelming majority of the House GOP conference opposed the Respect for Marriage Act — which would also protect interracial marriages — the bipartisan support was considered significant when Congress remains bitterly polarized over many issues. Many in the supportive group of Republicans are retiring or represent districts in Democrats’ sights in the midterms.

How incumbent Republicans voted on the bill

The vote caused Senate Democrats to spring into action, working to find 10 Republicans who could overcome the 60-vote threshold needed for passage in the chamber after leaders initially expressed doubt such legislation could garner support from across the aisle.

It remains in question, however, whether Senate Republicans would follow the green-lit argument of their House colleagues — that supporting the legislation is rooted in principles found in the Constitution. So far, five Republican senators — Susan Collins (Maine), Thom Tillis (N.C.), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), Ron Johnson (Wis.) and Rob Portman (Ohio), whose son is gay — have said they would support the legislation. Five more are needed to overcome the filibuster-proof 60-vote threshold.

It’s likely those trying to find the necessary support will have time to do so. The Senate adjourned Sunday, making it more likely such legislation could be considered as early as September.

But the unexpected bipartisan support in the House shows how quickly same-sex marriage has become widely accepted in the past decade, including on Capitol Hill, even as the Republican Party remains highly critical of other aspects of the LGBTQ community. And though the Supreme Court officially declared same-sex marriage settled law in the 2015 case Obergefell v. Hodges, Democrats felt the onus to ensure such rights are federally codified to prevent any challenges to such protections in the future.

The bill’s passage also slightly marred House Democrats attempts to paint all Republicans, including vulnerable lawmakers in swing districts, as extremists who would support rolling back such protections. That fear was raised after Justice Clarence Thomas openly questioned whether the court “should reconsider” rulings that guaranteed access to birth control and same-sex couples’ right to marriage in his concurrence to the Supreme Court ruling that overturned federal abortion protections in Roe v. Wade.

Of the 47 House Republicans who voted in favor of the same-sex marriage legislation, 24 are on the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s list of seats to target in the midterms. But only a handful represent true swing districts according to the Cook Political Report with Amy Walter’s ratings, given that polling continues to show Republicans are more likely to regain the House majority. They only need to net five seats from Democrats to do so.

8 who support the bill are leaving

14 who oppose are leaving

3 who did not vote are leaving

Some Republican “yes” votes can be explained based on the large LGBTQ communities within their district. For example, all three Republicans in the Miami-area supported the measure, including Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar who represents a Democratic-leaning district.

Largely all Republicans who voted in favor of the legislation said they believe marriage is settled law based on the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment.


“I know that this is the right vote because it is the constitutional vote and we need to protect equal rights for every single American,” Rep. Kat Cammack (R-Fla.) said in an interview.

Rep. Nancy Mace (R-S.C.) was more blunt moments after the bill passed in the House, tweeting, “I’m a big fan of marriage, having done it a few times. And if gay couples want to be as happily or miserably married as straight couples, more power to them.”

Retiring members are often considered the first ones to buck the party on a divisive issue, given they no longer live in fear of retribution from voters. But only four Republican lawmakers did so on marriage equality, while another 17 who are leaving voted against it. Most of the 17 come from extremely conservative districts. Others are running for Senate in conservative states where such a vote could hurt them politically.

Rep. John Katko (R-N.Y.), who voted in support of marriage equality and is retiring, observed that politics often leads “people try to fashion arguments that suit their vote instead of looking at the bill itself,” preventing them from taking a stand on issues that are settled law.

There were still some surprising votes from Republicans who would be expected to vote based on how conservative their district is. Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), for example, has long had one of the most conservative voting records in the House, before she began frequently rebuking former president Donald Trump. But her vote in support for marriage equality was personal, explaining last year that she was “wrong” to have been against same-sex marriage and had since reversed course in support of her sister who is a lesbian.


GOP Conference Chair Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) and National Republican Congressional Committee Chair Rep. Tom Emmer (R-Minn.), both of whom represent safe Republican districts, also broke ranks with Republican leadership, voting in favor of the legislation.

Still, roughly 80 percent of the GOP conference voted against the legislation. Even so, it was difficult to find Republicans who were opposed to the principle of marriage equality itself, largely pinning their dissent on objecting to Democrats quickly ushering the bill onto the floor without committee consideration or Republican input. Others found it unnecessary to vote on legislation the Supreme Court already ruled as federally protected.

Rep. Brian Mast (R-Fla.) understood most of his colleagues voted against the legislation out of frustration at Democrats “absolute bull—- process” of putting the bill on the floor without much time for consideration.

“But, you know, for pretty much every Republican that I’ve spoken to — whether they vote in favor for it or not — same thing as me, I could give a rat’s caboose who somebody marries, relates with, falls in love with, anything else as a piece of it, their gender or anything else,” he said. “I wasn’t going to get mixed up in the politics of it.”

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The term “this guardian” can refer to many things, but in this article, we will focus on the role of this guardian as it pertains to the protection of the earth and its people. The earth and its inhabitants are facing numerous challenges, from climate change to pollution to overpopulation, and it is crucial that we have guardians in place to address these issues and safeguard our planet for future generations.

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More Read : theguardian
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