Georgia Republican Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene told supporters at a fundraising event that the potential of overturning marriage equality has become more likely due to the makeup of the U.S. Supreme Court.
Speaking at an event on Oct. 5 held by the America First Warehouse in Ronkonkoma, New York, Greene was asked about Obergefell v. Hodges, the landmark 2015 court decision that overturned all existing state-level bans on same-sex marriage.
According to LGBTQ Nation, the questioner expressed elation over the Supreme Court’s recent decision overturning the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that established the federal right to obtain an abortion, which allowed state laws banning or restricting the practice to come back into effect.
“But just as toxic to the culture was the Obergefell decision that claimed marriage could be between someone other than one man and one woman,” he said, as Greene nodded her head. “What are our chances of getting that overturned?”
Greene replied, “I think we have a better chance on the Supreme Court right now like we had with the Dobbs case and with Roe v. Wade getting overturned. I think we have a better chance there with the balance on the Supreme Court, as it stands right now, than we do in Congress.”
She then asserted her own beliefs that marriage — which are based on Biblical teachings — can only be defined as the union of one man and one woman. But she hinted that even Republicans in Congress, even should they take the majority following this November’s elections, might be more reticent to push forward with a law or a constitutional amendment defining marriage in those terms — a stark difference from the mid-2000s, when such an agenda was prioritized by Republican lawmakers.
“Do I see anything happening legislatively in Congress anytime soon on that issue?” said Greene. “I don’t, at this time.”
Greene’s response is illuminating, in that it represents a reversal of the Republican Party’s position that direct action by Congress is generally preferable to a Supreme Court ruling when setting domestic policy. However, if Congress is reticent to act on the issue, the biggest hope conservatives have of overturning marriage equality rests on the belief that the court’s conservative majority will ignore precedent and reverse its own ruling in the Obergefell case.
The possibility of such judicial activism on the part of Republican-appointed judges has spurred Democrats to push for the Respect for Marriage Act, which would enshrine the right to same-sex marriage into law and require same-sex marriages to be recognized even if the court reverses the Obergefell ruling.
The Respect for Marriage Act passed the House of Representatives in July, with 47 Republicans voting with the entirety of the Democratic caucus, but has stalled in the Senate. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, who had hoped for a vote prior to November’s midterm elections, decided to delay the vote after speaking with a bipartisan group of five senators who had been trying to cajole and coax Republican senators into voting for the bill.
Many Republican congressional lawmakers have dismissed the Respect for Marriage Act as an election-year ploy by Democrats to avoid talking about other issues, or, as in the case of Texas Senators Ted Cruz and John Cornyn, have said the legislation isn’t necessary given the court’s 2015 ruling. But Greene’s comments undermine those positions, showing that — at least for a fair number of socially conservative voters — the issue of keeping same-sex marriages legal isn’t going away anytime soon.
As such, Greene’s comments are likely to push proponents of same-sex nuptials to double down on their position that the Supreme Court can’t be trusted and that Congress must act to legalize recognition of same-sex relationships.
As for the Congresswoman herself, she’s clear about where she stands on any bill to legalize same-sex marriage, telling Business Insider back in July: “I believe that marriage is between a man and a woman and that’s how God created it.”
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