Johnson signals he would vote for same-sex marriage bill
Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), a staunch ally of former President Trump and perhaps the most vulnerable GOP senator facing reelection in November, announced Thursday that he would vote for a bill protecting same-sex marriage.
Johnson took a shot at Democrats, accusing them of trying to stir up controversy over the issue, but still signaled that he would vote for legislation to establish federal protection for same-sex marriage, as well as interracial marriage.
“The Respect for Marriage Act is another example of Democrats creating a state of fear over an issue in order to further divide Americans for their political benefit. Even though I feel the Respect for Marriage Act is unnecessary, should it come before the Senate, I see no reason to oppose it,” he said in a statement to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Johnson’s statement referred to legislation passed overwhelmingly by the House Tuesday with the support of 47 Republicans that would repeal the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act and require states to recognize same-sex marriages.
Republicans say the law is unnecessary because the Supreme Court required states to perform and recognize same-sex marriages in its landmark 2015 decision, Obergefell v. Hodges, which struck down part of the Defense of Marriage Act.
But proponents of the bill point to the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health, which struck down the 50-year-old constitutional right to an abortion, and to conservative Justice Clarence Thomas’s concurring opinion, in which he wrote that the court “should reconsider” its precedents protecting same-sex marriage and the use of contraception.
Johnson said in his statement Thursday that he considers it unlikely the court would overturn its ruling from seven years ago protecting same-sex marriage.
“Unlike Roe v. Wade, I do not see any scenario in which the Supreme Court would overturn Obergefell,” he wrote.