Republican Sen. Ron Johnson Says He Will NOT Support Same-Sex Marriage Act As It Goes: Claims There Are “Serious” Concerns About Religious Freedom” And Democrats Are “Opening An Old Wound”.
- The stance is a reversal for the Wisconsin Republican, who said in July he saw “no reason to defy the law.”
- “I always support civil unions [and] I have never felt the need for this law,” Johnson told reporters at the Capitol on Wednesday
- Democrats had to bring 10 Republicans on board to pass a filibuster in the split Senate
- Three GOP senators are considered sure yes votes, with nine more up for election
GOP Sen. Ron Johnson now says he will not support same-sex marriage legislation on religious freedom grounds.
The stance is a reversal for the Wisconsin Republican, who said in July he saw “no reason to defy the law.”
“I always support civil unions [and] I have never felt the need for this law,” Johnson told reporters at the Capitol on Wednesday. “These are just Democrats opening a wound that doesn’t need to be opened. And now that I’ve spoken to people, there are some very serious concerns about religious freedom.’
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., pledged that the upper house would pass the Respect Marriage Act in September after it passed the House 267-157 in July, with 47 Republicans voting with all Democrats .
Same-sex marriage is already legal in all 50 states — the 2013 Supreme Court ruling, Obergefell v. Hodges, found that portions of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act that prevented the federal government from recognizing same-sex partnerships for federal benefits were unconstitutional. Still, the law remained in effect – the Respect for Marriage Act would repeal it.
GOP Sen. Ron Johnson now says he will not support same-sex marriage legislation on religious freedom grounds
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., pledged that the upper house would take up the Respect for Marriage Act in September
Last week, Johnson signaled for the first time that he would not support the bill, potentially leading to his downfall. Democrats had to bring 10 Republicans on board to pass a filibuster in the split Senate.
“I wouldn’t support it in its current state,” Johnson said at a meeting of Common Sense Citizens of Washington County last week, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, which obtained a transcript of the remarks.
Senators are still working on a final version of the bill, and Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said she wants to “make sure religious liberties are not violated and that polygamous marriages are not allowed.”
“But at the same time, I don’t want millions of lives to be destroyed either. For me it was a healed wound. leave it, ok Go ahead, okay,” he said, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, which reported on the remarks on Wednesday.
The right-wing senator is locked in a tough re-election race with his Democratic counterpart. He seems to have changed his mind about the bill from two months ago.
“The Respect for Marriage Act is another example of Democrats creating a state of fear over an issue to further divide Americans for their political gain. While I believe the Respect Marriage Act is unnecessary, I see no reason to vote it down if it goes before the Senate,” Johnson said in a statement to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in July.
Senate Democrat leadership may also add gay marriage protection language to a stopgap bill to keep the federal government funded to increase pressure on Republicans to support it, a Democratic source told Reuters on Tuesday.
Such a move could add pressure to the evenly divided chamber as it faces a Sept. 30 deadline to avoid a partial shutdown of federal agencies when the money runs out later this month.
Congress has less than a month to pass the measure before returning to the campaign trail ahead of the Nov. 8 midterm election, in which Democrats are expected to lose their narrow majority in the House of Representatives and potentially lose the Senate.
Without Johnson’s backing, there are three Republicans who are considered sure “yes” votes: Sens. Collins and Rob Portman, Ohio, both sponsors of the measure, and Sen. Thom Tillis, NC
Nine additional GOP voices are available.