Here are the 12 Republicans who helped push the same-sex marriage bill through the Senate

Mitt Romney
Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, speaks with members of the press after voting on a bill that would enshrine same-sex and interracial marriages into federal law, Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2022, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky) Patrick Semansky/AP

Here are the 12 Republicans who helped push the same-sex marriage bill through the Senate

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The Senate passed the Respect for Marriage Act on Wednesday that seeks to codify federal protections for same-sex marriage, overcoming one of the bill’s final hurdles before heading to President Joe Biden’s desk for signature.

The Respect for Marriage Act codifies same-sex marriage into federal law while also providing a religious freedom amendment that would protect institutions from losing their tax-exempt status if they refuse to recognize same-sex marriages. Democrats made the legislation a top priority during the current lame-duck period within the halls of Congress as the party prepares for the likelihood of ceding control of the lower chamber to Republicans.

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The bill passed the Senate with a 62-37 vote, surpassing the 60-vote threshold needed to move the legislation through the upper chamber. Twelve Republicans joined with their Democratic counterparts in supporting the measure, including Sens. Roy Blunt (R-MO), Richard Burr (R-NC), Shelley Capito (R-WV), Susan Collins (R-ME), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Rob Portman (R-OH), Mitt Romney (R-UT), Dan Sullivan (R-AK), Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Todd Young (R-IN).

Some Republican senators indicated they would back the bill before it was brought to the floor for a vote, such as Johnson who noted that marriage equality has long been considered a settled debate for many Americans.

“We’ve shown here through this legislation that these rights can coexist, religious freedom on the one hand, LGBTQ on the other hand,” Portman said before the Senate vote on Wednesday. “It is my hope that with the changes we’ve talked about today and we’ve all now agreed to, we can pass this legislation with the same kind of overwhelming bipartisan majority we saw in the House of Representatives and therefore settle this issue once and for all.”

The bill also garnered the support of some Republicans who previously refused to say publicly whether they’d vote in favor of codifying same-sex marriage.

“I don’t know that marriage should be a partisan issue,” Romney told reporters earlier this week. “But I do believe that the protections afforded [to] religious institutions are important, and if they’re included in the final bill, I intend to support it.”

The bill’s passage comes after months of bipartisan negotiations between lawmakers, with Republicans voicing concerns the bill would violate the religious freedoms of those who do not agree with same-sex marriage. As a result, Democratic Sens. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) worked with Collins, Portman, and Tillis to draft an amendment that would ensure “this legislation fully respects and protects Americans’ religious liberties and diverse beliefs, while leaving intact the core mission of the legislation to protect marriage equality.”

“We look forward to this legislation coming to the floor and are confident that this amendment has helped earn the broad, bipartisan support needed to pass our commonsense legislation into law,” they said in a statement.

Some Republicans shifted back and forth on their support of the bill, including Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) who ultimately voted against the legislation. That decision comes despite the Wisconsin Republican saying in July there was “no reason to oppose” the bill.

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Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell also voted against the bill’s passage.

The bill previously passed the House in July with 47 Republicans joining Democrats to back the legislation, igniting talks among Democratic senators on how to get enough GOP support to pass the bill through the Senate. The bill now heads back to the House, which must vote to approve the religious freedom amendment that was not included earlier this summer, before it heads to Biden for approval.

© 2022 Washington Examiner

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