LOCAL NEWS

Lee, Romney split their votes on Respect for Marriage Act

Nov 16, 2022, 4:24 PM | Updated: 5:39 pm
Lee Romney...
OREM, UT - NOVEMBER 6: Republican U.S Senate candidate Mitt Romney (L) is congratulated by soon to be Utah Senior Senator Mike Lee (R) as they talk to their supporters after Romney won the Utah Senate seat, at his campaign headquarters at an election night party on November 6, 2018 in Orem, Utah. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)
(Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah’s Republican senators split their votes on the Respect for Marriage Act during a key vote Wednesday.

The vote allowed the start of formal debate on the bill which would require the U.S. federal government to recognize the validity of same-sex and interracial marriages in the United States.

Twelve Republican senators joined with all of the Democrats on the bill.

One of those Republicans was Mitt Romney.

“This legislation provides important protections for religious liberty — measures which are particularly important to protect the religious freedoms of our faith-based institutions,” Romney said in a tweet Wednesday.

“While I believe in traditional marriage, Obergefell is and has been the law of the land upon which LGBTQ individuals have relied. This legislation provides certainty to many LGBTQ Americans, and it signals that Congress — and I — esteem and love all of our fellow Americans equally.”

The statement said Romney will also support a bipartisan amendment from Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Susan Collins (R-ME), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), and Thom Tillis (R-NC) to strengthen religious liberty protections in the bill.

Sen. Mike Lee voted against. He tweeted, “I voted against the motion to proceed to the “Respect for Marriage Act” because the religious liberty protections were severely anemic and largely illusionary.”

“Religious Americans will be subject to potentially ruinous litigation, while the tax-exempt status of certain charitable organizations, educational institutions, and non-profits will be threatened. My amendment would have shored up these vulnerabilities. It’s a shame it wasn’t included.”

Senate Democrats are trying to get quick approval of the bill after Republicans won control of the House on Wednesday.

On Tuesday the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints made known that it supports the bill with religious freedoms included.

It said preserving religious freedoms together with LGBTQ is a way forward. Romney and Lee are both known to be members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall also applauded Wednesday’s Senate vote on Twitter saying.

Your family and the people you love deserve the same protections and the same respect given to others in this country. We see you, we support you, and we love you!

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Lee, Romney split their votes on Respect for Marriage Act