A Republican congressman from Pennsylvania who has been accused of hypocrisy for attending his gay son’s wedding after voting against a bill to codify same-sex marriage into law gave a toast at the ceremony in which he appeared to be sympathetic to the reasons why same-sex couples get married.
U.S. Rep. Glenn Thompson (R-Pa.), who was one of 157 Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives who voted against the Respect for Marriage Act, a bill to enshrine the right to same-sex marriage into federal law, said in his toast that marriage is about finding that “one true love” and “someone to grow old with” — sentiments typically invoked by proponents of same-sex marriage.
“As a parent — parents have hopes and dreams, right, with their kids, from the time that they’re born and they’re creeping and crawling and walking and falling over and walking again, and all the things that they learn right through their teens and into becoming adults. We have hopes and dreams,” Thompson said, according to audio obtained by BuzzFeed News.
“First of all, obviously, we hope right from the beginning, it’s all about having a healthy child. But it’s about being healthy. It’s about them being healthy. We hope for safety. We’re hoping that they find their way, find opportunity, they find inspiration. And as they grow and as they get a little older, we also hope and pray they’re going to find that one true love so that they have the opportunity to experience that: Someone to grow old with.
“We love it when they find their one true love, especially when they become a part of our families then. That’s what we’re rooting for,” Thompson concluded. “We’ve been fortunate with three sons, and [Name Redacted]’s done a great job of adding to the family…. So this has been a really good experience…to have a new son enter the family!”
The bill that Thompson voted against, the Respect for Marriage Act, would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act, a 1996 law that barred the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages as valid. Part of that law was voided by a Supreme Court decision in 2013, and was effectively nullified by the high court’s 2015 decision declaring state bans on same-sex marriage to be unconstitutional.
Congressional Democrats have claimed they introduced the act in response to a recent Supreme Court ruling on abortion, which they argue has opened the door to revisiting whether same-sex marriage should be legal. As evidence, they have cited a concurring opinion, issued by Justice Clarence Thomas, declaring the need to revisit any cases where the court has found certain rights exist that are not explicitly mentioned in the Constitution — which would include the right of same-sex couples to marry.
However, some Republicans — including Thompson — have issued statements declaring the bill to be an election-year stunt designed to distract from other Democratic policy failures. The bill now heads to the U.S. Senate, where Democrats are trying to corral at least 10 Republicans into voting for the bill to ensure it can overcome the threat of a filibuster.
Thompson has previously favored allowing individual states to regulate their marriage laws, and has expressed concerns about a lack of exemptions or protections for people who oppose same-sex marriage based on their religious beliefs, such as a business owner who does not want to be compelled to “participate” in a same-sex wedding ceremony, even indirectly.
BuzzFeed News noted that it was provided with the audio of Thompson’s speech by one of the guests at the wedding — who has asked to remain anonymous — who is critical of the congressman’s actions and encouraged the news outlet to publish the audio recording.
“I think the word should definitely get out there,” the guest said. “These politicians need to be exposed for who they really are.”
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