Shotgun wedding? Senators Murkowski, Sullivan vote to advance ‘Respect for Marriage Act’ for gays, lesbians


Alaska’s two U.S. senators voted in lockstep with Democrats to advance House Resolution 8404, which will repeal the Defense of Marriage Act and replace it with the Respect for Marriage Act. The Respect for Marriage Act would make marriage protections for gays and lesbians a federal issue, superseding state laws. Opponents say it does not protect constitutionally granted religious liberties for those who don’t wish to take part in same-sex wedding ceremonies or the events celebrating them, and the law may be used to punish Christians.

Twelve Republican senators voted to invoke cloture, which means to advance the legislation for a vote on Tuesday. The Republicans were Roy Blunt, Missouri; Richard Burr, North Carolina; Shelley Capito, West Virginia; Susan Collins, Maine; Joni Ernst, Iowa; Cynthia Lummis, Wyoming; Lisa Murkowski, Alaska; Rob Portman, Ohio; Mitt Romney, Utah; Dan Sullivan, Alaska; Thom Tillis, North Carolina; and Todd Young, Indiana.

All Democrats voted yes and the measure received one vote more than the 60 it needed — Sen. Dan Sullivan’s vote — to move ahead in the legislative process tomorrow.

The Senate vote was held open for nearly 2-1/2 hours to reach the 60 vote threshold needed to advance it. Sen. Todd Young voted yes and was the 60th vote. The clock kept ticking.

Several minutes later, Alaska Sen. Dan Sullivan arrived on the floor of the Senate and gave a thumbs up. That was the end of the voting on Tuesday. The matter comes up again for a vote on Wednesday.

Sullivan’s office said he arrived last because he was working to get Sens. Young and Lummis to hold out so that a vote would happen on Lee’s amendment. That was what the thumbs up referred to — Sullivan getting the OK from Sen. Chuck Schumer that they would allow the vote; it was previously dead.

Sen. Dan Sullivan of Alaska was the final vote on moving the Respect for Marriage Act forward to the final vote on Tuesday.

The Alliance Defending Freedom and other conservative groups are highly critical of the bill and say it is unconstitutional.

Franklin Graham, who is an evangelical religious leader, called the bill “deceptively named.” He wrote, “It is very disappointing that 12 Republican senators sided with ultra-liberal @SenSchumer and voted for the Respect for Marriage Act which strikes a blow against millions of Americans who believe in and support traditional marriage.”

Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas said “the RFMA’s current language would strip the tax-exempt status from many religious schools, faith-based organizations, and other non-profit entities that hold traditional views of marriage. The Senate must pass the Lee Amendment.”

Republican Sen. James Lankford of Oklahoma said, “All Americans should be honored and no one should be discriminated against—no one. The Respect for Marriage Act isn’t about equality or maintaining the status quo. It is about silencing and disadvantaging people that disagree.”

Republican Sen. Mike Lee of Utah said, “What we can expect should this bill become law is more litigation against those institutions and individuals trying to live according to their sincerely held religious beliefs & moral convictions.”

“As soon as the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June, activists went to work mischaracterizing the ruling,” wrote Greg Baylor for the Alliance Defending Freedom.

“Many used the decision—and particularly Justice Clarence Thomas’s concurrence—to stoke fears that the Court might overturn other precedents, including Obergefell v. Hodges, in which the Court invented a constitutional ‘right’ to same-sex marriage.

“Using this feigned outrage as a cover, these activists pushed for a federal law called the Respect for Marriage Act. The bill is unnecessary and could have a disastrous effect on religious freedom.

The Respect for Marriage Act was introduced in July immediately after the high court returned abortion laws to the states, and it is fast-tracked to be passed by the Senate and the House before the House returns to Republican control in January. It had no public hearings or committee hearings in the House, which led to proponents mischaracterizing the bill as a mere codifying of Obergefell v. Hodges.

“After outcry from thousands of religious Americans, faith-based organizations, and churches, a small group of senators offered a substitute version that they claim fixes the bill’s religious liberty problems,” Baylor writes. He says that the fixes do not protect Americans who hold different beliefs.

NPR reports that 70% of Americans support same-sex marriage and that the matter is no longer controversial.

“Same-sex marriage used to be a deeply divisive issue. Now, with polls showing over 70% of Americans support same-sex marriage, Congress is set to move forward with The Respect for Marriage Act,” NPR reported.

The bill is a reaction to the Supreme Court’s repeal of Roe v. Wade.

“I first filed the Respect for Marriage Act over a decade ago. Since then, the fight for marriage equality has seen many highs and lows, but perhaps none more frightening than the current threat posed by Clarence Thomas and this conservative Supreme Court,” said Rep. Nadler. “I, along with my Democratic colleagues, will not be idle bystanders while the constitutional rights and freedoms that underpin our democracy are shredded. Today’s vote was about protecting the children and loving families whose whole lives rely on the constitutional guarantee of marriage equality. I hope that my colleagues in the Senate will take up this bipartisan bill without delay and provide much needed stability and certainty for the families that have been shaken to their core by Justice Thomas’s concurring opinion in Dobbs v Jackson.

Read Nadler’s press release at this link.


  1. Rewriting the bible or legislation doesn’t change what God said about homosexuality. Ruth Bell Graham said something profound regarding all the homosexuality and other sins occurring on america. If God doesn’t judge america, then HE owes sodom an apology. Sodom was gross with corruption and depravity including its children.

    • This legislation is all about personal freedom, 70% of the population do not have any objection to same sex marriage. Senator Sullivan’s amendments protect the personal freedom of the minority 30%, ie, you won’t have to bake a Wedding Cake for a gay couple if that offends you.

    • Let’s vote him out in his next election! Maybe Kelly Tshibaka should run again?

      In addition to being a complete WUSS, Ohio Dan hasn’t directed the constituent services staff on his payroll to put in a good day’s work. When Alaskans have problems with federal agencies, we should be able to get assistance from his office and that staff. But this is not possible. Dealing with his right-hand guy Chad is a complete waste of time.

      Dan talks a good line, but has absolutely no follow up. I say, let’s send him back to Ohio ASAP.

  2. Respect? Marriage is a holy covenant between man and woman ONLY for the purpose of raising children they themselves created.

    Anything else shows DISRESPECT for marriage. DO GOODER DAN strikes again.

    • Marriage is nothing more than a contract between two people. There are tax benefits as well.

      Marriage lost it’s religious connotation as long ago as when King Henry forced the pope to allow him to divorce Catherine in 1534.

    • Dean, actually, the covenant you speak of once included a third party; the personage of Yahweh Himself; the one true god of all the cosmos. As time went by, our western culture inserted a 4th party into the marriage covenant–government. As time further progressed, our culture eliminated God from the sacred covenant so it is now most often only a three-way civil contract between husband, wife, and the government. The government issues a license (permission) and provides an officer to formalize the contract. Then, the government grants various privileges and responsibilities to the husband and wife: differing tax rates, multitudes of rules, allowances and liabilities not applicable to so-called single people. Then, the situation becomes extremely complicated when the inevitable divorce occurs. Marriage has, for the most part, become a grand mess run by government that most young men reject due to the eventual negative outcomes for them. Historically, marriage was intended as the institution through which children were brought into the world. We are now far beyond that. More than 50% if children are now born outside of marriage ( because the heavy hand of government makes marriage undesirable. Government should have no say in the matter. There are millions of Americans cohabitating with each other; an activity once reserved only for marriage. Trying to keep the disappearing institution formalized under government control is obviously pointless. Government should only view citizens as individuals. Now homosexuals believe they want a seat at the marriage table–they don’t realize what they are asking for. We need the government to get completely out of marriage; let it be like any other civil contract between consenting parties. Trying to keep the disappearing institution formalized under government control is obviously pointless.

      • Please forgive the repetition above. The software does not allow editing and I pushed the send button too soon.

    • Your fervent use of ALLCAPS unwittingly shows why such a bill is up for a vote—religious zealots who insist marriage is reserved exclusively for child bearing couples are eliminating widows, infertile people, and adults with grown kids who wish to wed, and their narrow interpretation of things should not be legally allowed to define civil marriage for the entire society.

      Apologies if somehow your freedom and liberty are denied by other adults getting married, but given the tenor of your comment, its easy to assume that if you don’t like one certain type of marriage, you’ll seek other marriages to attempt to ban. Would you outlaw a Jewish husband marrying a Catholic wife? Would you outlaw an Iraq vet with an severe injury to wed a supportive spouse? Would you outlaw two widows who met at 65 marrying? YOU WOULD, BUT THE GOVERNMENT SHOULDN’T, AND WON’T. THAT’S FREEDOM UNDER THE LAW.

      Hope you understood the all-caps part, sport.

    • Masked; With Alaska’s economy the way it is I am glad to see Sullivan and Murkowski bring in more infrastructure money 2.6 billion, than any other state on a per capita bases, highway construction grants, new coastguard cutters and more.
      Sure to thank God and glad we did not loose Lisa although she won her election quite convincingly 😉
      And as far as marriage, if we want to keep our freedoms then we shouldn’t take away others freedoms.

      • I guess freedom and expression of religious beliefs (the basis of our founding) is not included on your list freedoms we need to protect. Also if the left hadn’t gutted Alaska’s ability to maintain our economy we wouldn’t be needing the Fed’s handout which is just printed money depreciating the value of everything we have.

  3. Missing something here Suzanne – what has happened to Senator Lee’s amendment? Did the cloture vote take place today for a final vote Tuesday (tomorrow)? I hope and pray this gets thrown out by the SCOTUS, because it will destroy the very foundations of America – free speech and free exercise of religion. I don’t want to get sued for holding to my Christianity. The RFMA. rather mis-named, respects no one – but is simply a weapon to kill dissent and any who dare to dissent. We can respect all people without having to agree with everyone all the time. What is the national motto? – e pluribus unum – one out of many… but we have never enforced the unum with legal penalties against dissent.

    • Rich – Merry Christmas! The Senate will vote today on Sen. Mike Lee’s amendment, but it has a 60-vote threshold and I don’t know if Lee has the votes. They’ll also vote on Sen. James Lankford’s amendment and now one from Sen. Marco Rubio, both with a simple majority vote, and then they’ll vote on final passage. Then it will go back to the House for a final vote. – sd

  4. Huh can someone show me in U.S constitution where it talks about marriage as Constitutional right?? I read the 14th Amendment does not say anything about marriage. I know the Supreme court uses the old Due process clause to say marriage is a right. The Supreme Court’s mandate is determining the Constitutionality of laws. It is not charged with creating new rights in the Constitution.

    • Abortion is also NOT A CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT! With the election of the Rhino three-some Peltola, Murkowski, and Sullivan voted along with the left. God’s Law trumps man’s laws.

    • Marriage is one of many things guaranteed by our constitutional right to “The Pursuit of Happiness.”

  5. Oh and Clarence Thomas just grinned. This is headed to the Supreme Court. These senators are just too dumb to realize what they just did lol…

  6. Sullivan no longer has my vote (Lisa never did, not once, since ascended to the throne of her rich dad)
    Doing this to Christian people & organizations is dispicable imo, you should be ashamed of yourself Sullivan

    BTW …. where are our Muslim “brothers” on this issue?
    Why do many of them act holy & then vote for anti-religious Democrats?
    Do they think their children are immune to this communist push to the Left?
    They should be with us, like the Cubans, but instead they seem to want communism.

    And Latino immigrants? Do you want your boys taught by these grooming libs? SMH.

    • Verry funny calling Senator Sullivan a commie, mixing religeon with politics is more suited for the Middle East, not the US

  7. SCOTUS said if you did not want abortion left to the States you need to codify. Congress took the cue with equal rights and codified the equal rights to marriage. A boon to lawyers and more anguish for social conservatives

  8. At some point, Dan-S will have to explain his vote of support for this legislation. At some point, he’ll have to atone for his actions. And, at some point, voters will get sick of his lack of performance and lack of representation.

  9. The Devil is in the details in this bill. No help to defeat from the 2 senators that don’t read what they vote on or have gone completely to the other side!

  10. As we watch Brazil, China, Iran, Russia, Ukraine, Europe, and other places not being reported on we are voting on a bill that has hidden threats to our freedoms that brings us closer to the mentioned countries. To send a letter or POM to Sullivan and Murkowski is a waste of time. That left We The People a long time ago!

  11. There goes the right to religious freedom. Our first amendment rights are meaningless with all these gays around. Protect the constitution and send them away.

  12. Bravo. The relationship between two consenting adults is their own business, and should not be afforded fewer rights than the minority of Americans that share a faith-based objection to how others should lead their lives. The preamble to the constitution does not carve out exceptions when it says the the right to pursue life, liberty, and happiness is self-evident.

    Conservatism has been hijacked by the morality police. It’s a losing argument, and certainly cost Rs the Senate last time around. If you love coalitions in state government and minorities in both federal branches, keep pushing your 1950s culture war issues at the expense of small government, individual liberties, and fiscal responsibility.

  13. Bad day for MAGA, Oath Keeper Sedition convictions, Gay marriage protection, days like these warm my heart as I think of all the tears…

    • Keep singing and playing your harp while Rome 2.0 burns, RINO.
      You radical leftist extremists are perverted in many way, but most perverted in your celebration of destruction and degeneracy.

  14. Well, we might as well vote Democrat, at least we know what we get. Thought that Oh Danny boy, represented most of our conservative values, but he’s falling in line with Lisa Murkowski, our AK Republican senate give it’s power to the liberals, as some on here stated, all they care about is the money that is coming to AK, which will be for green movement, not for conventional projects.

  15. Well, we might as well vote Democrat, at least we know what we get. Thought that Oh Danny boy, represented most of our conservative values, but he’s falling in line with Lisa Murkowski, our AK Republican senate give it’s power to the liberals, as some on here stated, all they care about is the money that is coming to AK, which will be for green movement, not for conventional projects.

  16. State’s issue no need for this bill. Who are these two representing, their constituents or themselves?

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