Republican excuses for not protecting marriage equality

Democrats have introduced a series of bills to the House of Representatives that would protect Americans’ access to abortion and contraception, the ability to cross state lines to obtain an abortion, and marriage equality. Republicans voted overwhelmingly against her, with most Republican defectors standing on the Marriage Equality Protection bill. This split is an opportunity to protect one of the key rights that the conservative movement will continue to urge its comrades on the Supreme Court to repeal.

Republican senators like Marco Rubio and Ben Sasse as well as conservative media like e.g National Reviewhave insisted that the Respect for Marriage Act is unnecessary as there is currently no case en route to the Supreme Court with the potential to overturn Obergefell v. Hodges, the decision recognizing the right of same-sex couples to marry. Rubio said he would vote against the law because it was a “waste of time on a non-issue”. sasse told reporters that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi “attempted to divide America with culture wars. I think it’s the exact same bullshit. She’s not grown up.”

That is nonsense. The majority argues Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organizationthe case that tipped over deer v. wade, is one that would invalidate upper skin and allow states to destroy hundreds of thousands of families, despite the majority’s feeble and disingenuous disclaimer that the decision applies only to abortion. In his approval, Judge Clarence Thomas aimed to do just that upper skin among decisions other than one granting rights not expressly listed in the Constitution, and therefore a decision that should be overturned. There is absolutely no reason to believe that the fundamental rights of same-sex couples are secure. Conservative activists want upper skin overwhelmed and will try to make it happen at the first opportunity because they don’t believe that same sex couples should have the right to get married. Assurances to the contrary are meaningless because the same sources that say these rights are not now at risk said similar things about it roe. It’s also political strategy: because they know breaking marriage equality is an unpopular position, they want to deny doing it until they can. While no one can predict with absolute certainty what the judges themselves will do, Republicans in Congress now have a record of overwhelming support for the agenda Thomas outlined and the society that would impose it.

The reason some Republican senators are complaining about the existence of a marriage equality bill is that they don’t want to be forced to take a real position on the issue. They don’t want to publicly take the position, unpopular even within the Republican grassroots, that these families should be destroyed, but neither do they want to do what is necessary to protect them and potentially draw the wrath of right-wing media and other members of their political coalition . It’s cowardice, but it’s also a GOP plan while they can hold court: to avoid risky positions in Congress while the conservative justices act as super-legislators, foisting an unpopular right-wing legal agenda across the country. Since judges cannot be voted out, they can take the heat as they push through policies that elected officials would be reluctant to support. If marriage equality really were a “non-issue,” passage of the bill would be assured; GOP lawmakers are waiting for the court to do their dirty work for them.

Opposing this legislation on pretexts is not even a particularly effective form of avoidance. There is no functional difference between objecting to a law ensuring marriage rights continue to be recognized because you hate same-sex couples, or because there is currently no case or controversy in federal courts. In the latter case, you simply lack the confidence or courage to admit what you are, even as you hold public office and pretend to lecture others about your lack of morality and personal integrity.

Hiding behind marriage equality federalism is a relatively recent political maneuver — Republicans wanted a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage to the point where it became politically inconvenient. Whatever these politicians privately believe is irrelevant: their position is that same-sex couples should be deprived of the “vital personality rights essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness” that these elected officials currently enjoy. A self-honest commitment to federalism is no license to deny groups of people the same legal protection.

Federal legislation would not prevent the right-leaning 6-3 majority on the Supreme Court from invalidating these rights, but it would increase the political cost to the court of doing so and would deny avenue of legal argument for those who seek to hide their opposition against marriage equality behind complaints about past judicial activism. Even a slim chance that such legislation would make enough of the judges think twice about trying to invalidate the right to marriage makes the law worth passing.

Contrary to Sasse’s babble about dividing the country, if the law passed and successfully stopped the Supreme Court from invalidating marriage equality, Democrats would have no popular issue on which to criticize Republicans. And that’s a good thing, because it should be the duty of the Democratic Party to ensure that its constituents — and by extension, all Americans — can retain their basic rights, and that culture-war grievances don’t linger forever. However, I can understand why elected Republican officials, accustomed to offering their constituents little more than a steady diet of Culture War red meat, might have trouble grasping the concept.

If Congress passes the Respect for Marriage Act, which enshrines marriage equality into federal law, the Supreme Court could strike it unconstitutional under the same state legal framework it previously overturned roe.

And Congress should pass the law anyway.

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