If Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas is to be believed, the SCOTUS' recent ruling on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization will have far reaching consequences beyond reproductive freedom.
In his portion of the conservative, theocratic majority opinion, Thomas placed a bullseye on contraception, non-heteronormative sexuality and marriage equality. Thomas—who is in his 31st year on the bench—stated the overturn of Roe v. Wade should lead to the eventual overturn of all cases based on a right to privacy.
Thomas specifically cited giving states the ability to outlaw contraception, any sexuality other than heterosexual and same-sex marriage, but it would also impact the 1967 case of Loving v. Virginia, giving states the ability to make interracial marriage illegal again.
In response, Congress tried to pass legislation to protect reproductive healthcare access including contraception and marriage equality for LGBTQ+ people and interracial couples. The bill does not address the marriage inequality faced by the disabled.
The reproductive freedom bills addressing abortion access were stymied in the Senate after passing largely along party lines in the House. The House bill to protect marriage equality—the Respect for Marriage Act (HR 8404)—passed in the House as well, with much more support from Republicans.
Now the Senate prepares to work codifying or denying marriage equality. Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio already came out firmly against LGBTQ+ equality and protections for interracial couples.
According to CNN's Manu Raju:
"Marco Rubio told me that he is a NO on House’s same-sex marriage bill, calling it a 'stupid waste of time'."
\u201cMarco Rubio told me that he is a NO on House\u2019s same-sex marriage bill, calling it a \u201cstupid waste of time\u201d\u201d— Manu Raju (@Manu Raju) 1658333443
About 50 Republican House members supported the marriage equality bill, all 11 Florida Democrats voted in favor of the bill and six Republican Representatives from Florida voted yes.
Democratic Representative Val Demings who is challenging Rubio for his Senate seat in the November midterms also voted for the LGBTQ+ civil rights measure.
\u201cMarco Rubio doesn\u2019t believe in marriage equality. I voted to protect it.\u201d— Val Demings (@Val Demings) 1658336435
Demings said in a statement:
"Equality under the law is an American value. We’re going to stand up for freedom and refuse to go back into a discriminatory past."
"A small group of politicians do not get to dictate America’s future in this government of the people. Every married couple must have fair and equal access to all of the benefits of marriage, from Social Security to veterans and military benefits to health care."
"I’ll always fight for your freedom and I’m proud to help support legislation to protect every American couple’s fundamental right to have their marriage treated as equal under federal law."
When Rubio campaigned for the Republican nomination for the presidency for 2016—before being routed by Donald Trump—Rubio promised to appoint Supreme Court Justices who would target LGBTQ+ equality.
Rubio has also been a frequent speaker forranti-LGBTQ+ organizations like The Heritage Foundation and CPAC.
While former Republican President Donald Trump did that for him, Rubio has still made it clear he intends to restore exclusionary and discriminatory laws targeting LGBTQ+ people.
\u201c@MeidasTouch Why do so many people care who other consenting adults marry? What right do they lose because of it? What bad thing happens to anyone because of it?\u201d— MeidasTouch.com (@MeidasTouch.com) 1658334142
\u201cWow. Marco actually called it a *stupid* waste of time. Even more of a reason to vote for @valdemings!\u201d— Dash Dobrofsky (@Dash Dobrofsky) 1658334675
\u201cMarco Rubio just said that he will vote NO on the bill to codify the right to same sex marriage. \n\nVal Demings just voted YES on that same bill. \n\nVote accordingly.\u201d— Aaron Parnas (@Aaron Parnas) 1658334770
\u201cMarco Rubio is going to vote NO on a bill that codifies the right to same-sex marriage. \n\nThis is just one reason why Floridians are going to elect Val Demings this November.\u201d— Aaron Parnas (@Aaron Parnas) 1658342192
\u201cMarco Rubio says he's voting NO on the same sex marriage bill because he thinks it's a "stupid waste of time." He voted no on billions of dollars in jobs for Floridians too. Your RT and small donation supports our efforts to make sure he's FIRED in 2022.\n\nhttps://t.co/lnqlPdFDI3\u201d— BrooklynDad_Defiant!\u262e\ufe0f (@BrooklynDad_Defiant!\u262e\ufe0f) 1658417408
\u201cREMEMBER FLORIDA: Val Demings doesn't think codifying Marriage Equality is a "Stupid Waste of Time." That was Marco Rubio!\n\nAlso he wants to CUT Social Security!\u201d— Peter Morley (@Peter Morley) 1658392898
\u201cMarco Rubio said he will be voting against the Respect for Marriage Act which protects same-sex & interracial marriage. Val Demings is running against Rubio & voted for the Act as a current House member. Floridians, especially #LGTBQ, MUST vote for @valdemings in November!\u201d— Dan "I Stand With Ukraine" P (@Dan "I Stand With Ukraine" P) 1658343484
\u201cMarco Rubio says the House bill protecting same-sex marriage is a "stupid waste of time."\n\nIn March, he refused to attend Biden's State of the Union address because he didn't "have time" to take a COVID-19 test.\n\nMarco Rubio doesn't have time to be a senator.\n\nLet's help him out.\u201d— Middle Age Riot (@Middle Age Riot) 1658337479
\u201cMarco Rubio called protecting marriage equality a \u201cstupid waste of time.\u201d \n\nI think listening to Marco is a waste of time.\u201d— Harry Sisson (@Harry Sisson) 1658335320
\u201cIf you\u2019re gay, Marco Rubio opposes your marriage & thinks it\u2019s a \u201cstupid waste of time\u201d\n\nIf you love someone of another race, Marco thinks protecting your love is a \u201cstupid waste of time\u201d\n\nIf your loved one was brutally murdered, Marco thinks gun reform is a stupid waste of time\u201d— Lindy Li (@Lindy Li) 1658350715
\u201cJust a gay person here to say: (1) the legality of my marriage matters more than my gas bill and (2) it must suck for Rubio to realize he\u2019s never going to be President.\u201d— Matt McDermott (@Matt McDermott) 1658364250
\u201cThe man who used the murders of 49 mostly-LGBTQ people of color to revive his flailing political career says codifying marriage equality is a \u201cstupid waste of time\u201d?\n\nMarco Rubio\u2019s career disgraces those whose backs he stepped on to get there.\u201d— Brandon Wolf (@Brandon Wolf) 1658334813
\u201cGay people can be pissed about gas prices while also wanting their marriage and their right to marry protected. Would love to see Rubio's plans to protect that right AND to lower gas prices.\u201d— Wesley Whistle (@Wesley Whistle) 1658333969
\u201cMr. Bible Quote is exactly who we say he is. He was never a decent person. He\u2019s always been a cowardly bigot. Stop voting for frauds. \u2014 Marco Rubio Won't Vote to Codify Same-Sex Marriage, Calls It 'Non-Issue' https://t.co/34Pw2UJZhJ\u201d— Fred Wellman (@Fred Wellman) 1658407529
\u201cAfter those comments from Marco Rubio on the same-sex marriage bill, I\u2019m sure a lot of ppl are gonna vote for Val Demings \u2026 thinking that casting a ballot for Rubio would be \u201ca stupid waste of time.\u201d \ud83e\udd37\ud83c\udffe\u200d\u2640\ufe0f\ud83d\uddf3\u201d— Lynnette KhalfaniCox (@Lynnette KhalfaniCox) 1658335519
The Senate hasn't set a timetable for HR8404, but it will need the full support of all Democratic Senators and at least 10 Republicans to overcome the expected filibuster.
A May 2022 Gallup poll found support for same-sex marriage hit a new high of 71%, up 1 percentage point from 2021.
55% or more of Republican voters have supported same-sex marriage since 2021. The majority of people over 65 and Protestants also support marriage equality for LGBTQ+ people.
However Republican platforms across the country are still treating LGBTQ+ rights, including marriage equality, like their constituents are against them.
Whether such focus on a loud, but shrinking homophobic and transphobic base hurts Republicans in their state and district elections won't be clear until November.