Two former top Republican officials wrote an opinion piece in The Wall Street Journal urging Congress to pass a bill to protect same-sex marriage.
Theodore Olson, who held prominent roles in the Justice Department during the Reagan and George W. Bush administrations, and Ken Mehlman, former chair of the Republican National Committee, wrote their article Monday after a concurring opinion by Justice Clarence Thomas in the case that overturned the federal right to an abortion in Roe v. Wade, The Hill reported.
Thomas said that the court should review other cases that were decided on similar legal reasoning to Roe, such as Obergefell v. Hodges, the 2015 case that guaranteed a right to same-sex marriage.
This has raised fears among many that those rights could be undermined.
Olson and Mehlman wrote in The Wall Street Journal that "it's unlikely that a subsequent Supreme Court decision would overturn Obergefell, but it would be foolhardy to take for granted that lower courts or future justices couldn't adopt similar views as those expressed in Justice Thomas' concurrence or attempt to weaken the rights that accompany civil marriage."
The Respect for Marriage Act, which would protect the right to same-sex marriage, as well as interracial marriage, passed the House with a strong bipartisan majority earlier this month, but the bill faces an uncertain fate in the Senate, where many Republicans have announced their opposition, according to The Hill.
If all Democrats vote for the legislation, at least 10 Republicans in the Senate will need to vote for it to overcome a filibuster that would prevent the bill from advancing.
"It is incumbent on Congress to reaffirm that civil same-sex marriage is settled law and remove any uncertainty that gay and lesbian families could see their marriages delegitimized," Olson and Mehlman wrote. "The Senate must ensure that all Americans are treated fairly and equally under the law."
They added that the more than 1.1 million gay and lesbian Americans who have entered into legal marriages since Obergefell "have relied on decisions affirming their right to marry and its accompanying protections: custody of children, healthcare decisions, right of survivorship, tax status, immigration status and more.
"It would be cruel and unconscionable if these expectations and committed relationships were undermined or extinguished."
The authors also stressed that "support for civil marriage is consistent with American values. Strong families and lasting relationships strengthen communities, and marriage is a fundamental freedom deeply rooted in the history and traditions of our country.
"As conservatives, we should promote freedom and limited government. That includes supporting American citizens' freedom to marry the person they love."
They pointed out that "people of good faith can disagree on the extent to which the institution of marriage should be extended to persons of the same sex. But that freedom to disagree isn't changed by the Respect for Marriage Act."
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