‘Respect for Marriage Act’ Hits a Snag, Puts Republicans on the Hot Seat

While Democrats never seem to compromise when Republicans are in power, once the tables turn, the deals start getting made. It’s been a point of frustration for conservatives for decades. For example, under Donald Trump, an infrastructure deal was scoffed at by Democrats. With Joe Biden as president, though, a large contingent of Republicans rushed to sign onto one.

Now, another swift kick in the backside is on the way via the so-called “Respect for Marriage Act.” Despite there being absolutely no threat at all to gay marriage, Republicans have decided to play into the left’s narrative by pushing to codify it legislatively.

The issue isn’t whether one agrees or not that gay marriage should be protected federally. It already is via a Supreme Court decision that is in no danger of being overturned (there might be one vote, and that would be purely on legal grounds). Rather, the issue is what the “Respect for Marriage Act” would mean for religious liberty. What kinds of protections exist in the bill to allow people to live out their faith in their everyday lives?

That’s been the concern of Sen. Mike Lee, who has introduced an amendment to flesh out the language and provide basic protections for religious liberty. And with no time to spare, he may be making some headway according to The Daily Signal.

A Republican senator who voted for the so-called Respect for Marriage Act supports Republican Utah Sen. Mike Lee’s and Republican Oklahoma Sen. James Lankford’s amendments to the legislation, The Daily Signal has learned.

Republican Alaska Sen. Dan Sullivan is working hard to ensure that the necessary votes are attained to include the amendments, which aimed at protecting the religious liberties of Americans, a person familiar with the situation told The Daily Signal.

Sullivan’s office confirmed to The Daily Signal on Friday afternoon that the senator does indeed support both Lankford’s and Lee’s amendments.

Sullivan is one of the Republicans who has pledged to give the Democrat-led bill the votes it needs to break a filibuster and pass. That margin is small, though, and any defections represent a snag. Sullivan being in favor of Lee’s amendment is important because it sets up a path to hold up the bill until it passes and is included. It would only take three Republicans to stand their ground. The question is whether they will do so.

This is an easy layup. If senators like Joni Ernst, Todd Young, and Cynthia Lummis aren’t willing to lead on this issue by joining Sullivan’s support for Lee’s amendment, then what good are they? Religious freedom is at the very core of the nation’s identity, and it should be protected at all costs. It’s bad enough that 12 Republican senators have defected on this bill, being willing to give Democrats yet another win when there is no reason to do so. The least they can do is ensure the unintended consequences are kept to a minimum.

There are understandable fears among Americans that they will be forced to violate their religious beliefs due to this Orwellian-named bill’s broad nature. It would a major red flag for Republicans to not force Lee’s amendment into the legislation. After all, if the goal isn’t to harm religious liberty, then why oppose it? Republicans, including those who have gone weak in the knees, must muster the courage to do what is right here. Will they? I have my doubts, and if they don’t, that’s not something GOP voters should forget.

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