Seven years ago, the Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, struck down laws mandating traditional marriage. We were told at the time, that the decision was settled even though it was enacted by the slimmest of margins.
But last month, Democrats in the House of Representatives pushed through legislation, deceptively labeled the “Respect for Marriage Act.” It was intended to codify into law the Supreme Court decision. This would be an unnecessary protection. But the bill’s sponsors point to a statement by one Justice (Clarence Thomas) who raised the possibility of revisiting the 2015 decision on same-sex marriage.
Seven years ago, it was clear that nearly all Republicans and many Democrats disagreed with the Supreme Court ruling. But times have changed. When the House voted on the bill, 47 House Republicans voted for it.
When the bill went to the Senate, three dozen Republicans said they were “undecided” while at least four Republicans came out to support the bill. To frame Republicans as bigots, the bill includes protections for interracial marriage. This is not even an issue and was decided long ago in the historic Supreme Court decision of Loving v. Virginia.
When the Supreme Court redefined marriage, it tore up three dozen state laws and over 50 million ballots cast in various state elections that defined marriage as between one man and one woman. At the time, the US was only one of 23 countries out of 195 that redefined marriage. Citizens and state legislatures were discussing and debating the issue of marriage, but the Supreme Court stepped in and stopped the debate, as it did in the Roe v. Wade decision back in 1973.