TOPEKA (KSNT) – The U.S. Senate passed a landmark protection for same-sex marriage Tuesday. However, Kansas Republicans voted against the measure.
Kansas U.S. Senator Roger Marshall and U.S. Senator Jerry Moran were two of the 36 Republican Senators who voted against the Respect for Marriage Act.
The proposal establishes protections for same-sex marriages that were initially handed down by the Supreme Court in Obergefell v. Hodges back in 2015 and that some feared could someday be in jeopardy, after the high court overturned Roe v. Wade this summer.
Senator Moran released the following statement after voting to oppose the Act.
“The Supreme Court’s ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges is the law of the land, and this bill is not necessary for protecting same-sex marriage. While I appreciate my colleagues taking steps to protect religious freedoms, the bill’s lack of clarity for people of faith in churches, schools, non-profits and businesses continues to pose a threat to the religious freedom of Americans guaranteed by the First Amendment,” Moran said.
“Americans should be treated equally and with dignity and respect. Knowing there are protections under multiple Supreme Court rulings for same-sex marriage, there needs to be greater protections for religious freedoms before I will support the legislation,” he continued.
Senator Marshall sent a statement to Kansas Capitol Bureau Wednesday regarding his decision.
“While gay marriage is already the law of the land, this bill goes far beyond making it federal statute by attacking our religious freedoms and threatening to take away religious institutions’ tax exempt status,” Marshall said.
Opponents of the bill argue that it would increase the threat of legal liability for those who decline to affirm same-sex marriage, and grant a private right of action for private individuals and entities to target those who are “acting under color of State law.” They worry that it could be used to harass and silence religious organizations, like schools, religious ministries and nonprofit charities, that are contractors or grantees of the government or otherwise seen as acting on behalf of the government.