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GOP in disarray on LGBTQ rights: State Republicans double down on bigotry as national lawmakers flee

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When House Democrats put a bill on the floor last week protecting same-sex marriage rights, something astonishing happened—nearly 50 House Republicans voted with Democrats to pass the Respect for Marriage Act, 267-157.

Sure, more than three times that number of Republicans voted against the bill, which would codify into federal law both interracial and same-sex marriage rights. But the unprecedented assist from House Republicans immediately made the bill a contender for floor time in the Senate based on the very real possibility of attracting the 10 Senate Republicans needed to beat an inevitable GOP filibuster.

Senate Republicans suddenly realized they had a political hot potato on their hands. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell had been laboring to steer his caucus clear of divisive cultural hot-button issues in the lead up to November. McConnell needs Republicans to appear palatable enough to attract the support of the same suburban voters who largely abandoned the party during Donald Trump's disastrous tenure.

Indeed, Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, arguably Senate Republicans’ most endangered member, bit the bullet Thursday and said he would vote for the marriage bill if it reached the floor of the upper chamber.

"Even though I feel the Respect for Marriage Act is unnecessary, should it come before the Senate, I see no reason to oppose it," Johnson said in a statement.

As a political party, Republicans have increasingly waved the white flag on same-sex marriage for the last handful of years. As a presidential candidate in 2016, for instance, Donald Trump pledged to nominate justices who would overturn Roe v. Wade in one breath only to claim in the next breath that the freedom to marry wouldn't be jeopardized by those very same judicial appointments.

"It’s law. It was settled in the Supreme Court. I mean it’s done," Trump said of marriage equality in November 2016.

Trump along with many Republican strategists wanted to wash their hands of an issue that quickly grew into a total political loser for them. Their evangelical backers, however, were never going to let it go. And sure enough, just as soon the radicalized Supreme Court majority took out Roe, same-sex marriage was back on the chopping block. In fact, Justice Clarence Thomas wasted no........

© Daily Kos

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