I was not fooled

Yesterday, there was a brief paroxysm of optimism in the press. A law codifying same-sex marriage passed the House!

Nearly 50 House Republicans voted to write same-sex marriage into law Tuesday, joining all Democrats in a heavily bipartisan vote that would’ve been considered unthinkable a decade ago.

Democrats loudly cheered from their side of the chamber as the bill passed 267-157, with 47 Republicans backing it, including members of GOP leadership such as Conference Chair Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) and National Republican Campaign Committee Chair Rep. Tom Emmer (R-Minn.). Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) voted no.

47 Republicans in favor of marriage equality? That’s nice, but I can do math. 157 Republicans voted against it, and 157 is greater than 47 by a lot. I can also do a little psychology, and I wonder how many of the pro votes were from politicians putting on a show while trusting that the Senate would block it?

Amanda Marcotte thinks the same way I do, and she put the correct interpretation of this vote.

In response to the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade, the Democrat-controlled House has teed up twin bills, one to protect same-sex marriage and one to protect the right to contraception, out of concern that the conservative majority is coming for those rights next. It’s a totally justified fear. In his concurrence on the Roe overturn, Justice Clarence Thomas explicitly called previous decisions to legalize contraception and same-sex marriage “demonstrably erroneous” and called on the court to “correct” those rights like they “corrected” the right to abortion.

These two bills are almost certainly doomed to fail, because the Republican minority in Congress has a near-absolute power to kill bills through the abusing the filibuster. That’s what happened when House Democrats tried to protect abortion rights. There’s little reason to think Republicans have any more affection for the right to prevent pregnancy or allowing LGBTQ people to marry for love.

Tuesday, this was proved when a whopping 78% of Republicans in the House failed to vote for marriage equality. While the bill passed due to a Democratic majority, it’s near-certain that Republicans in the Senate will filibuster any attempt to protect same-sex marriage. And yet, if you glanced through mainstream media headlines, you’d think that Republicans have wrapped themselves in the rainbow flag and are celebrating same-sex marriage these days.

“47 House Republicans vote to write same-sex marriage into law,” Politico declared, failing both to give the 100% of Democrats who voted for it credit and ignoring the 78% of Republicans who oppose same-sex marriage rights.

The CBS headline highlighted the 47 Republicans who voted for the bill over the 164 who voted no or refused to show up. Even the BBC, which is usually better than this, played along with “Republicans help pass House gay marriage bill.”

That is correct. Those 47 Republicans are merely the lice-ridden, reeking merkin covering the repulsive pubes of the degenerate puritans of the Republican party. Don’t be fooled as Politico was. (Knowing Politico, they’re probably a willing part of the wig, anyway.) Repealing legalized same-sex marriage is part of the official Republican party platform!

The usual suspects are also loudly belittling the bill while also planning to repeal same-sex marriage and outlaw contraception.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene threw a tantrum declaring that the bill was unnecessary because “no one is taking away gay marriage.” She then admitted that she was voting against it because “I believe that marriage is a union made by God between a man and a woman.” Rep. Jim Jordon of Ohio thundered that Democrats are trying to “attempt to intimidate the United States Supreme Court,” a talking point that only makes sense if the plan is to have the court overturn same-sex marriage against the will of the people. (And only if you believe the Supreme Court’s “right” to vacate all laws Republicans don’t like is absolute.) Sen. Marco Rubio, who is up for re-election in Florida this year, said he would vote against the House bill to protect same-sex marriages, calling it a “stupid waste of time.”

No doubt about it: Same-sex marriage is popular with the public. Then again, so are abortion rights. The opposition to same-sex marriage comes from the exact same minority of people — call them Christian nationalists — who oppose abortion rights. The GOP answers to this small minority and not to the larger public. That’s why they are dismantling democracy so that the more liberal majority simply doesn’t have a say in what our laws around marriage and reproductive rights are. And, just as with the attack on abortion rights, Republicans know they have to use deflection and subterfuge to advance their agenda so that they can snatch the right to same-sex marriage away without most of the public realizing that it’s happening until it’s too late.

Those same Republicans said there was no way Roe v. Wade was on the table for repeal, and then, thwip, it was suddenly gone and they were rejoicing. Look for the same magic trick to be pulled on all of our rights.


  1. says

    The democrats are doing it to show how helpless they are and how mean the republicans are. They know its fruitless – they’re just trying to fool their electorate. The dishonesty is what galls me.

    Oh and I’m sure Biden is thinking about maybe doing something.

  2. Pierce R. Butler says

    … give the 100% of Democrats who voted for it credit …

    What song did they go out and sing on the Capitol steps?

  3. consciousness razor says

    What the bill actually does is somewhat limited. Maybe it’s not too likely in some places; but I could see some conservative states, purely out of spite, deciding only to recognize out-of-state marriages since that is what’s required of them, rather than doing it themselves. Then their claim would be that it’s not too much of a burden that you have to get married in another state/territory. As long as one state somewhere allows same-sex marriage and you jump through whatever hoops conservatives want you to jump through, your rights are thus “protected.” (I might have said it’s kind of like the way we treat access to abortion, but that’s also under attack.)

    It’s also a little mystifying to me why it only says this can’t be denied on the basis of “sex” (and race, ethnicity, or national origin) while saying nothing about sexual orientation. Can’t they just write a relatively straightforward law which simply protects same-sex marriage (and interracial marriage, etc.) and isn’t so watered down?

  4. consciousness razor says

    And before anyone says that’s all meant to prevent it from being overturned by the Supreme Court (as if that were a thing they should legitimately do), I’m sure they will go after it anyway, and the court has demonstrated time and again that it will just come up with whatever nonsense it likes.

  5. raven says

    There is a very old saying about this. Our choices are:

    GOP. We want the worst for you.
    Democrats. We are incapable of governing.

    It was supposed to be a joke.
    Unfortunately, the modern day GOP really does want the worst for you. They always go for maximum cruelty and control and always support the oligarchies at the expense of the citizens.

    The Democrats aren’t totally incapable of governing but to be polite, they could do a better job.

  6. marner says

    Considering that the abortion rights bill received zero House Republican votes, I am encouraged by the 47 votes for same sex marriage. I think it has a real chance of passing in the Senate.

  7. ardipithecus says

    I doubt that it is currently possible to write a law that would be SCOTUS proof. The SCOTUS 5 have shown that they are committed to a Humpty Dumpty reading of the constitution: “It means what we want it to mean, neither more nor less.”

  8. Scott Simmons says

    @consciousness razor #3:
    It only mentions sex because that’s all it needs to do. Nobody has ever or will ever codify a law preventing gay men and women from getting married. It would be pure hell to try to adjudicate and enforce, and wouldn’t achieve anything useful from the conservative perspective. What’s been codified is that men can only marry women, and women can only marry men, regardless of the sexual orientation of either party.
    Those laws have the added benefit of preventing, say, straight men from marrying trans women, as long as you don’t recognize trans as their actual gender. Bills like the ones the House passed end up boiling down to, “you can marry any competent unmarried adult who agrees to marry you”, which is simple and broad enough to cover anything but polygamy, really.