Chairman of the House Republican Conference Rep. Elise Stefanik (RN.Y.) and new representative of the elected majority whip. Tom Emmer (R-Minn.) were among notable votes in favor of the legislation, continuing their support since July. Lawmakers had cited Emmer’s vote as a reason they might not back him as whip, though he ultimately prevailed in the conference vote.
Seven House Republicans – Reps. Bentz Cliff (Ore.), Mario Diaz-Balart (Florida), Brian Mast (Florida), Dan Meuser (Pennsylvania.), Scott Perry (Pennsylvania.), Maria Elvira Salazar (Florida) and Jeff Van Drew (NJ) — voted yes in July on the legislation, but opposed passing it on Thursday.
GOP representatives. Adam Kinzinger (ill.) and Lee Zeldin (NY) previously supported the bill but did not vote on Thursday. And two Republicans who previously opposed the bill — Reps. Mike Gallagher (Wis.) and Jaime Herrera Beutler (Washington.) – backed his final pass. Herrera Beutler, Zeldin and Kinzinger will all leave Congress at the end of the term.
And it’s not just Emmer who has faced significant party criticism for doing so. Sen. Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), who ultimately backed the bill, alluded to the political backlash she faced for her support in a speech on the floor, saying it “involved a painful exercise in accepting d ‘a rather blunt warning and introspection’. She also mentioned that “Americans speak to each other in more raw and cruel terms than ever in my life.”
One of the 39 yes Republicans, Rep. Nancy Mace (RS.C.), explained his vote in favor of the legislation in a statement.
“The right to marry the person you love, regardless of skin color or orientation, shouldn’t be controversial,” she said. “Our nation was built on the notion of individual freedom.”
Many LGBTQ members of the Democratic caucus, including Reps. David Cicilline (RI), Marc Pocan (Wis.), Marc Takano (California), Angie Craig (Min.) and Chris Dads (NH), spoke out passionately in favor of soil legislation before the House passed.
“I stand here today because in 2022, families like mine are once again concerned that an activist, offbeat Supreme Court, will take away those rights,” Craig said from the room.
Pelosi said the legislation would “codify a legal reality already pronounced by the Supreme Court” and noted that it would be one of the last measures she would sign as president. The House originally passed the legislation after Justice Clarence Thomas said in a recent opinion that the Court should reconsider some past rulings, including its ruling on same-sex marriage.
“Today this chamber stands proudly with the forces of freedom – without turning back – and justice,” Pelosi said on the floor.
The final vote also came as Biden, who a decade ago became the most prominent Democrat to speak out in favor of same-sex marriage, held talks at the White House with the star’s wife. WNBA Britney Griner to celebrate her release from Russian custody.
Some Republicans who opposed the measure did so with conviction. representing Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.), her voice breaking with tears, condemned the marriage bill from the ground up.
“Protect religious liberty, protect believers, and protect Americans who believe in the true meaning of marriage,” said Hartzler, who lost his bid for the Missouri Senate seat this year. “I hope and pray that my colleagues will find the courage to join me in opposing this misguided and dangerous bill.”
Among those spotted in the House for the final passage was the senator. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), who led the bill’s charge in the Senate, and former Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), the first congressman to voluntarily come out as gay.
“I was there for the birth [of the Defense of Marriage Act]and I’m here for the funeral,” Frank said.
Nicholas Wu contributed to this report.