GOP Establishment Leaders Call On Senate To Enshrine Same-Sex Marriage
Craig F. Walker/The Denver Post via Getty Images

More than 400 current and former establishment GOP officials have signed a letter calling on U.S. lawmakers to enshrine the same-sex marriage bill working its way through the Senate into law.

Ken Mehlman, the former Republican National Committee chairman and Bush re-election campaign manager, led the effort to gain support for the bill and partnered with a new nonprofit group called Centerline Action, per The Washington Post.

“We call on the U.S. Senate to pass the Respect for Marriage Act and reaffirm that marriage for gay and lesbian couples is settled law,” the letter reads.

The letter states that passing the Respect for Marriage Act would “remove any uncertainty for the more than one million Americans who are building families, taking on the responsibilities and commitment associated with marriage, and caring for the one they love.”

“As Republicans and conservatives, we believe strong families and lasting relationships strengthen communities, and civil marriage is a fundamental freedom central to individual liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” the letter reads.

The letter comes a week after Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) vowed to hold a vote to codify same-sex marriage ahead of the midterm elections in November.

The Respect for Marriage Act that the House of Representatives passed, 267-157, last month, with 47 House Republicans voting in favor of the bill.

Now, Senate Democrats are working to garner ten GOP votes — enough to clear the 60-vote filibuster threshold — to move it out off the Senate floor and onto President Joe Biden’s desk. Biden has signaled he would sign the legislation.

So far, three Senate Republicans, including Susan Collins (R-ME), Rob Portman (R-OH), and Thom Tillis (R-NC), have told reporters they would likely vote yes on the bill. Nine have marked themselves as potential backers, according to The Hill.

Collins has teamed up with Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) to sway enough votes from across the aisle but has received pushback from Senate Republicans, citing religious liberty and conscience protection concerns.

The Daily Wire reported Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) said he would vote against the bill with concerns about religious liberties. He said that it would create more chaos for the court to disrupt same-sex marriages, adding that without protection for such freedoms, it could have massive consequences in several institutions across the nation.

Cruz further noted that GOP members are pushing for an amendment to the bill that would ensure such protections.

According to the nonprofit, more than 71 percent of Americans and most registered Republicans support same-sex marriages.

Georgia Log Cabin, a pro-LGBT Republican organization, said in a tweet it believes in “strong families & lasting relationships strengthen communities while reducing dependence on government.”

Pennsylvania Senate candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz said in a tweet that he is “proud to join this effort.”

“I believe that same-sex couples should have the same freedom to get married as straight couples,” Oz said.

U.S. News reports other GOP officials who have penned their names on the letter include Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker and Colorado Senate nominee Joe O’Dea.

Former White House officials under President Donald Trump like Alyssa Farah Griffin, the former White House director of strategic communications David Urban, former senior adviser Mike Dubke, and former White House communications director Toby Fabrizio have also signed their support for the bill.

A full list of names will be released to the public on Wednesday.

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