‘Sense of Betrayal’: Republican Senator Censured Over Same-Sex Marriage Vote

Zachary Stieber
By Zachary Stieber
December 10, 2022Politics
‘Sense of Betrayal’: Republican Senator Censured Over Same-Sex Marriage Vote
Senate Foreign Relations Committee member Sen. Todd Young (R-Ind.) on April 25, 2017. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

A Republican senator has been censured over voting for a bill that supports same-sex marriage.

Sen. Todd Young (R-Ind.) was censured by the Cass County Republican Central Committee, according to a letter obtained by The Epoch Times.

Young’s vote in favor of the Respect for Marriage Act, which codifies the Supreme Court’s 2015 ruling that requires states to license gay marriage and repeals the Defense of Marriage Act, triggered the censure.

“This was not a decision that was made abruptly nor without a large amount of discussion. Your decision elicited feelings of anger, disbelief, and even a sense of betrayal. We are not just fiscal conservatives, but social conservatives as well,” David Richey, chairman of the Republican committee, said in the censure letter to Young.

The senator defended his vote in a recent op-ed, saying the new bill “ensures dignity and respect for all Hoosiers.”

He brushed off concerns that religious liberty groups and some of his colleagues offered, including concerns that the bill will lead to lawsuits against individuals and entities that stand up for the belief that marriage is between a man and a woman.

“One concern I’ve heard from people of faith is that they worry their churches, schools, adoption agencies and faith-based organizations will be subject to lawsuits if they refuse services to same-sex couples. The text of the bill plainly states they will not,” Young said.

The act states, in part, that, “nothing in this act, or any amendment made by this act, shall be construed to diminish or abrogate a religious liberty or conscience protection otherwise available to an individual or organization under the Constitution of the United States or federal law.”

Richey said the opinion piece “only confirmed our concerns that you have departed from the deeply held views of the vast majority of your fellow Hoosiers” and that Young switched his views on the issue.

“On this matter (regarding same-sex marriage), you had previously stated that you felt matters like this were best handled by the States, not in the Federal venue. Now we find—right after we endorsed and voted for you in November—that you’ve changed your mind,” Richey said.

Richey said the bill “will have a chilling effect on religious freedom and further undermine the traditional family,” will lead to lawsuits, and will codify “an incorrect understanding of marriage, further embedding it in the American legal fabric.”

The committee not only censured Young—a symbolic action that could have an impact on Young’s next reelection bid, should he run—but sent copies of the letter to every Republican chairman in the state along with requests for the chairman to send similar rebukes.

Young’s office did not respond to a request for comment.

Richey told The Epoch Times via email that Young responded to Richey. The response was what Young previously released explaining his vote.

Other Senators

The Respect for Marriage Act only passed the Senate because it drew support from Young and eleven other Republicans.

Most measures require 60 or more votes in the Senate. Democrats or nominal independents who regularly side with the left hold 50 seats.

Young was joined by Sens. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), and Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) in crossing the aisle and helping pass the bill.

Many of the other Republicans also defended their votes.

“The Respect for Marriage Act would ensure that all married couples—including same-sex and interracial couples—are entitled to the rights and responsibilities of marriage, regardless of the state in which they live,” Collins said in a statement. “Let us remember that we are talking about our family members, our neighbors, our co-workers, our friends. I am proud to have stood—and I will continue to stand—with them in the efforts to secure their rights, while also steadfastly protecting and respecting religious liberty.”

Striking a balance that protects fundamental religious beliefs with individual liberties was the intent of our forefathers in the U.S. Constitution and I believe the Respect for Marriage Act reflects this balance,” Lummis said.

The vote came after the Senate amended the version passed by the House of Representatives, including inserting language that states no houses of worship or person would be required to perform a same-sex marriage.

House Vote

After the Senate amendment, the House voted on Dec. 8 to approve the updated measure. Thirty-nine Republicans voted in favor, along with all Democrats.

“Today’s vote to protect marriage and protect religious liberties marks the end of a long fight for the basic civil right for any two people to marry without discrimination,” Rep. Nancy Mace (R-S.C.), one of the Republicans who voted in favor, said in a statement. “The right to marry whoever you love regardless of the color of your skin or orientation shouldn’t be controversial. Our nation was built on the notion of individual liberty. This vote marks another step forward in the American people’s constant fight for freedom.”

Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.), among those who voted no, differed.

“This legislation threatens the religious liberty of Americans of faith and endangers faith-based organizations that oppose same-sex marriage,” he said in a statement. “Pastors, priests, nuns, rabbis, churches, faith-based adoption agencies, religious schools and universities, Christian-owned businesses, etc. are all now subject to lawsuits for simply adhering to deeply held convictions on marriage.”

From The Epoch Times

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