(LEX 18) — Kentucky Congressman Andy Barr was one of 157 Republicans who voted against the Respect for Marriage Act, a bill that would recognize same-sex marriages at the federal level.
The House bill, which passed 267-157, would codify federal protections offered to same-sex couples, originally put in place in 2015 after the Supreme Court ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges. That ruling established same-sex marriage as a 14th Amendment right. 47 Republicans joined the Democrats in supporting the measure.
In a statement, Congressman Barr, who serves Kentucky's 6th congressional district, called the bill a "gratuitous and politically-motivated measure that is in no way needed to protect or preserve the legal status conferred to certain same-sex couples in Obergefell v. Hodges."
"While left-wing groups continue to fear-monger in the wake of the Supreme Court's decision in Dobbs, they knowingly ignore the majority opinion in that case, which held that “[n]othing in this opinion should be understood to cast doubt on precedents that do not concern abortion," said Congressman Barr in a statement. "We have also explained why that is so: rights regarding contraception and same-sex relationships are inherently different."
Congressman Barr said the bill is "less about codifying same-sex marriage and more about expressing scorn and intolerance for people of faith who have a sincerely held religious belief in favor of traditional marriage."
Barr joined all of Kentucky's Republican congressmen who voted "no" on the bill. Congressman John Yarmuth, Kentucky's sole Democrat in Congress, voted "yes" on the bill.
A Gallup poll in June showed broad and increasing support for same-sex marriage, with 70% of U.S. adults saying they think such unions should be recognized by law as valid. The poll showed majority support among both Democrats (83%) and Republicans (55%).
The bill now heads to the Senate where it has an unclear future. Senator Mitch McConnell did not publicly state a position on the measure on Tuesday.
At least 10 Republicans would need to join the Democrats in order for it to head to President Biden's desk.