Metro Weekly

Here Are the 47 Republicans Who Voted for Gay Marriage

House GOP defections signal shifting attitudes regarding legal recognition for same-sex relationships.

Grooms at a gay wedding – Photo: Alvin Mahmudov, via Unsplash

Forty-seven Republicans voted for the Respect for Marriage Act, a bill to codify the right of same-sex couples to marry into law

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), seeks to enshrine the freedom to marry within U.S. law, in response to the threat posed by the U.S. Supreme Court in the wake of the high court’s shocking overturn of Roe v. Wade, and with it, longstanding legal precedent.

Titled the “Respect for Marriage Act,” the bill would require states to recognize legally valid same-sex and interracial marriages, and prohibit discrimination “based on the sex, race, ethnicity or national origin of the individuals in the marriage.”

Couples who believe they’ve been discriminated against because of their LGBTQ identity would be allowed to pursue legal action.

The bill ultimately passed by a vote of 267-157, with 47 Republicans voting with all the chamber’s Democrats to advance the bill.

The number of GOP defections was much larger than expected by most political observers, reflecting shifting attitudes on the issue of same-sex nuptials, even among Republicans — a majority of whom support same-sex marriage, according to polling.

Equally as significant is the fact that the official Republican Party platform opposes legal recognition of same-sex relationships, meaning those who voted in favor could find themselves opposed or even ousted in primaries by social conservatives wishing to exert control over the party’s agenda.

One example of this is former U.S. Rep. Denver Riggleman (R-Va.), who was defeated in a Republican primary convention after he officiated a same-sex wedding for two gay campaign volunteers. 

Notably, many of the Republicans who voted in favor of the measure tended to be younger, less experienced members of Congress, hailing from suburbs or exurbs of large cities, though there were exceptions.

For instance, all four members of the Utah congressional delegation voted in favor of codifying same-sex marriage. Utah currently has “compromise” laws prohibiting anti-LGBTQ discrimination that also carve out exemptions for religious objectors to same-sex marriage or LGBTQ rights.

In another example, Cliff Bentz, who represents a district in rural eastern Oregon, voted in favor of the bill, as did Jay Obernolte, a California Republican representing a semi-rural/exurban district centered around Death Valley and the far-flung communities of the state’s High Desert region.

The House Republicans who voted in favor of codifying same-sex marriage rights are:

  1. Ken Calvert, California (Riverside County/Palm Springs)
  2. Michael Garcia, California (Simi Valley/Suburban Los Angeles)
  3. Darrell Issa, California (Exurban San Diego)
  4. Jay Obernolte, California (Eastern California/San Bernardino)
  5. David Valadao, California (Central Valley)
  6. Kat Cammack, Florida (Gainesville/Central Florida)
  7. Mario Diaz-Balart, Florida (Miami/Everglades)
  8. Carlos Gimenez, Florida (Miami/Key West)
  9. Brian Mast, Florida (Port St. Lucie/Jupiter)
  10. Maria Elvira Salazar, Florida (Miami)
  11. Michael Waltz, Florida (Daytona Beach)
  12. Mike Simpson, Idaho
  13. Rodney Davis, Illinois (Springfield/Champaign)
  14. Adam Kinzinger, Illinois (Exurban Chicago)
  15. Ashley Hinson, Iowa
  16. Mariannette Miller-Meeks, Iowa
  17. Peter Meijer, Michigan (Grand Rapids)
  18. Fred Upton, Michigan (Kalamazoo/St. Joseph)
  19. Tom Emmer, Minnesota
  20. Ann Wagner, Missouri (Suburban St. Louis)
  21. Don Bacon, Nebraska (Omaha)
  22. Jeff Van Drew, New Jersey (Atlantic City)
  23. Andrew Garbarino, New York (Nassau County/Long Island)
  24. Chris Jacobs, New York (Greater Buffalo)
  25. John Katko, New York (Greater Syracuse)
  26. Nicole Malliotakis, New York (Staten Island)
  27. Elise Stefanik, New York (North Country)
  28. Lee Zeldin, New York (Suffolk County/Long Island)
  29. Kelly Armstrong, North Dakota
  30. Mike Carey, Ohio (Exurban Columbus)
  31. Anthony Gonzalez, Ohio (Suburban Cleveland)
  32. David Joyce, Ohio (Suburban Cleveland)
  33. Mike Turner, Ohio (Dayton)
  34. Cliff Bentz, Oregon
  35. Brian Fitzpatrick, Pennsylvania (Philadelphia Suburbs)
  36. Dan Meuser, Pennsylvania (East-Central Pennsylvania)
  37. Scott Perry, Pennsylvania (York/Harrisburg)
  38. Nancy Mace, South Carolina (Charleston)
  39. Tom Rice, South Carolina (Myrtle Beach)
  40. Tony Gonzales, Texas (San Antonio)
  41. John Curtis, Utah
  42. Blake Moore, Utah
  43. Burgess Owens, Utah
  44. Chris Stewart, Utah
  45. Dan Newhouse, Washington State (Yakima)
  46. Bryan Steil, Wisconsin (Suburban Milwaukee)
  47. Liz Cheney, Wyoming

Advocates of the bill have argued it’s necessary to pass in order to ensure that same-sex couples can still marry, even if the Supreme Court should vote, sometime in the near future, to overturn its 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges decision, which struck down or nullified state bans on same-sex marriage by declaring them unconstitutional.

Recently, in a concurring opinion overturning federally-guaranteed abortion rights, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas suggested revisiting the issue of same-sex marriage, on the grounds that the right to marriage is not explicitly mentioned in the Constitution, making it a purview of elected state lawmakers, not federal representatives. U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz made similar comments calling Obergefell “clearly wrong” in a recent podcast. 

Sens. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) have co-introduced a similar bill in the Senate, where passage is much less likely, due to the difficulty in finding 10 Republican senators to overcome a filibuster by voting to begin and end debate on the bill.

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