Every Republican Senator Who Has Voiced Support for Codifying Marriage Equality Ahead of Historic Vote

South Dakota Sen. John Thune told CNN that he expects to see bipartisan support for the RFMA bill in Senate

US Capitol building
U.S. Capitol building. Photo: Getty

In the wake of the Supreme Court's recent decision to overturn Roe v. Wade — a move that some have suggested paves a path to target same-sex relationships — many lawmakers are attempting to codify same-sex marriage rights at the federal level.

Congress' attempt to protect Americans' marriage rights comes via the Respect for Marriage Act, or RFMA, a bill that would repeal the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, which defined marriage as involving a man and woman and gave states the authority to refuse recognition of same-sex couples who had married.

The Supreme Court deemed the primary provisions of DOMA unconstitutional in its United States v. Windsor and Obergefell v. Hodges rulings.

But DOMA still technically a law and, if those Supreme Court precedents were to be overturned by the current justices (which some have expressed a willingness to do), it could go back into effect.

Earlier this week, the House passed RFMA in a 267-157 vote, with 47 Republican representatives joining Democrats in defending marriage equality.

Now, RFMA heads to the Senate, where Democrats will need to get 10 Republican senators to side with them in order to meet the 60-vote threshold for passage. Some have already expressed disinterest in supporting the bill — including Florida Republican Marco Rubio, who told CNN reporter Manu Raju it was "a stupid waste of time."

But other Republicans have expressed an openness to supporting the bill. Here's what some of them have said.

Sen. Susan Collins
Sen. Susan Collins. Greg Nash-Pool/Getty Images

Susan Collins

Republican Sen. Susan Collins helped introduce the latest, bipartisan iteration of RFMA. In a statement shared with PEOPLE, she said: "This bill is another step to promote equality, prevent discrimination, and protect the rights of all Americans."

Senator Rob Portman, a Republican from Ohio and ranking member of the Senate Homeland and Governmental Affairs Committee, speaks during a confirmation hearing for Shalanda Young, director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) nominee for U.S. President Joe Biden, in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2022. If confirmed, Young would be the first non-White woman to serve as OMB director. Photographer: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Rob Portman. Al Drago/Bloomberg/Getty

Rob Portman

The Washington Post reports that an aide to Rob Portman said the Ohio Sen. plans to co-sponsor the Senate bill and Portman himself told reporters Wednesday, "I think it's the right policy, and I think it's the right message to send."

Portman's son, Will, is openly gay, and wrote about his father's support in a coming-out story published in Yale News in 2013. Portman told reporters that same year his son helped shift his views on marriage equality: "I think we should be allowing gay couples the joy and stability of marriage."

Lisa Murkowski
Lisa Murkowski. Ian Forsyth/Getty Images

Lisa Murkowski

Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski signaled a willingness to support the bill also, telling CNN that she has "suggested to others that not only would I like to see Roe, Casey, and Griswold on contraception codified but I've also made clear my support ... for gay marriage years ago. So I will look at what the House is doing and see what that might mean here on the Senate side."

Thom Tillis
Thom Tillis. Al Drago-Pool/Getty

Thom Tillis

North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis told CNN that he "probably will" support the legislation — not exactly a ringing endorsement, but more concrete than what some other Republicans have said.

Ron Johnson
Sen. Ron Johnson. Toni Sandys-Pool/Getty

Ron Johnson

Wisconsin's Ron Johnson signaled both his support and his criticism for the bill in a statement in which he said he supported civil unions prior to the passage of Obergefell.

"After Obergefell, I considered the issue settled," Johnson said in the statement, which was shared to Twitter by CNN's Raju. "Unlike Roe v. Wade, I do not see any scenario in which the Supreme Court would overturn Obergefell. 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."

He offered a caveat, however: "Even though I feel the Respect for Marriage Act is unnecessary, should it come before the Senate, I see no reason to oppose it."

South Dakota's John Thune told CNN that Republican senators would "take a hard look at" the bill, adding that while he had not yet decided whether or not to support it, many Republicans likely would. "As you saw there was pretty good bipartisan support in the House yesterday and I expect there'd probably be the same thing you'd see in the Senate," Thune said.

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