Republicans trotted out the “settled law” argument today as Democrats in the Senate plan on introducing a bill that would give protections to same sex couples in every state. The bill would stop any state that bans same sex couples from marrying from not recognizing the union. In other words, if a couple marries in one state then moves to a new state that bans same sex couples from marrying, the state would have to legally recognize their marriage.
Senator Marco Rubio called the bill a “stupid waste of time.” More surprisingly, Mitt Romney, called the bill unnecessary due to it being “settled law.” Romney was the first governor to allow same sex unions when he was Governor of Massachusetts. Back then, in 2004, Romney said he was “surprised” when he finally agreed to meet with LGBT activists, that they actually had families and wanted equal marriage rights like any other citizen.
They did, and still do.
But is it a waste of time? Is it settled law? Americans were told by five Supreme Court Justices that Roe v Wade was “settled law” during their confirmation hearings. One of those justices (Alito) wrote the Dobbs decision declaring it wasn’t “settled law” and the precedent of Roe v Wade didn’t matter. Three other justices (Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, Coney-Barrett) voted for that decision just a short time after they were confirmed. Only Chief Justice Roberts did not get on board with that coup.
Currently there are cases in the courts that could affect same sex marriage.
Specifically, should the U.S. Supreme Court strike down Obergefell v. Hodges, which made the right of same-sex couples to marry the law of the land, this legislation would not prevent states from banning marriage equality.
According to a poll of GOP Senators conducted earlier this year, at least five said they would support the measure. Fifteen said they were “uncommitted” and eight said they would oppose the measure. Twenty-two refused to respond.
The bill is expected to pass on a bipartisan basis.