This week, 157 Republicans in the U.S. House voted against a bill to protect same-sex marriage amid signs that a conservative Supreme Court will target marriage equality following the overturning of Roe v. Wade, with only 47 voting in support. There’s reportedly significant Republican opposition in the Senate as well.
Still, The New York Times misleadingly reported today that Republicans in Congress “appear deeply divided about same-sex marriage.” In fact, the Republican Party’s antipathy to equal rights for LGBTQ Americans is overwhelming – and it’s spreading.
The House’s affirmative vote on the Respect for Marriage Act comes on the heels of the decision to overturn Roe, which protected abortion access at the federal level, as well as amid an increase in extremist homophobic and transphobic rhetoric and legislative efforts from the Republican Party and right-wing media. Conservative media and politicians have launched attacks on LGBTQ Pride events, referred to affirming trans or queer children’s identities as “child abuse,” and have heinously accused openly LGBTQ individuals of inappropriate activity or of being “groomers,” a slur that is banned on many social media platforms.
In his concurring opinion on overturning Roe, conservative Justice Clarence Thomas wrote that the Supreme Court should “reconsider” Obergefell v. Hodges, which codified same-sex marriage with similar reasoning to the principles of Roe, to applause from various right-wing media figures and politicians.
But despite the recent right-wing fostering of anti-LGBTQ extremism, as well as the overwhelming majority of Republican congresspeople who voted against codifying marriage equality, the Times still gave an unbalanced amount of credit to the small number of Republicans who could bring themselves to protect civil rights. In its reporting, the Times wrote that “Republicans in Congress appear deeply divided about same-sex marriage,” pointing to the “nearly 50” House Republicans who voted for the Respect for Marriage Act as evidence:
Since the Supreme Court decision last month overturning Roe v. Wade, anti-gay rhetoric and calls to roll back established L.G.B.T.Q. protections have grown bolder. And while Republicans in Congress appear deeply divided about same-sex marriage — nearly 50 House Republicans on Tuesday joined Democrats in supporting a bill that would recognize same-sex marriages at the federal level — many Republican officials and candidates across the country have made attacking gay and transgender rights a party norm this midterm season.
In a political environment in which violent and extremist rhetoric and action toward LGBTQ individuals are increasingly encouraged by the right, it is imperative that media outlets like The New York Times not give the Republican Party a pass for its anti-LGBTQ bigotry. When constitutional rights are stripped away from Americans, readers deserve to know which party is responsible.