More than 400 former and current GOP officials have signed a letter backing the Respect for Marriage Act, legislation that would repeal the federal Defense of Marriage Act and legally recognize gay marriage as valid under state law. The Supreme Court already ruled (in 2015) that same-sex marriage is legal and this bill would essentially codify that ruling into federal law.
The Democrat-dominant House passed the Respect for Marriage Act on July 19. The legislation is now in the Senate, which is split 50-50 Democrat-Republican. Democrats need at least 10 Republicans to sign onto the bill to attain the 60 votes needed to surpass a filibuster.
GOP Sens. Susan Collins (Me.) and Rob Portman (Ohio) are co-sponsors of the bill. Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) supports the legislation, and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) has indicated she backs gay marriage.
The new letter signed by GOP officials in support of the Respect for Marriage Act was produced by Centerline Action and Conservatives Against Discrimination.
The letter states, "As Republicans and conservatives, we believe strong families and lasting relationships strengthen communities, and civil marriage is a fundamental freedom central to individual liberty and the pursuit of happiness. We stand with the 71 percent of Americans today, including a majority of registered Republicans, who support the freedom to marry for all Americans.
"Together, we call on the U.S. Senate to pass the Respect for Marriage Act and reaffirm that marriage for gay and lesbian couples is settled law. Passing the Respect for Marriage Act will remove any uncertainty for the more than one million Americans who are building families, taking on the responsibilities and commitment associated with marriage, and caring for the one they love."
According to the Washington Post, some of the Republicans who have signed the letter include Ken Mehlman, who managed George W. Bush's 2004 reelection campaign; Pennsylvania Senate candidate Mehmet Oz; Colorado Senate nominee Joe O'Dea; Barbara Bush, daughter of George W. Bush; Jay Timmons, president of the National Association of Manufacturers; David Urban, former top adviser to Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign; and Tony Fabrizio, a pollster for Trump's 2016 campaign.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has said he plans on holding a vote on the legislation "in the coming weeks," reported The Post on Sept. 11.
When the Respect for Marriage Act passed in the House, 47 Republicans voted for it, including Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), and the entire House delegation from Utah.