Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) confronted colleague Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) after he told members of the press that legislation to legalize same-sex marriage was a “stupid waste of time.”
Rubio delivered the remarks following a bipartisan vote in the House to approve the Respect for Marriage Act, which would codify same-sex marriage into U.S. law. At the time of the remarks, Rubio and Baldwin were both boarding an elevator.
“You probably would have loved to be in the elevator to see the exchange after,” Baldwin told CNN. “I said that, ‘The recent Supreme Court decision [overturning Roe] eroded a constitutional right to privacy. There’s a whole bunch of cases that have been decided based on a constitutional right to privacy that are in jeopardy,’ which he disagrees with.”
Although she did not reiterate what Rubio said in response, she did add, “And anyways, I said we’ll be talking some more.”
Same-sex marriage is currently legal in the United States. In his opinion following the reversal of Roe v. Wade in June, Justice Clarence Thomas wrote that the Supreme Court could soon revisit other landmark cases, including Obergefell v. Hodges, which legalized same-sex marriage in 2015.
In response to Thomas’ remarks, the House passed the Respect for Marriage Act last week, which would codify both same-sex and interracial marriage into U.S. law, protecting both from any subsequent action by the Supreme Court.
Bolstered by the bipartisan support the bill got in the House – 47 Republicans voted in favor of it, along with all House Democrats – Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) announced that he would like to bring the legislation to a vote in the Senate. He tasked Baldwin with gauging the level of Republican support in the chamber.
Baldwin predicted to CNN that she and Senate Democrats would have the support of 10 Republican senators – the amount needed to break the filibuster – to pass the bill.
To date, only five Republicans have openly expressed their support for the legislation. Susan Collins (Maine), a co-sponsor of the bill, was the first to voice her approval. She was soon joined by Rob Portman (Ohio), who last Wednesday signed on as one of the bill’s co-sponsors.
Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), Thom Tillis (N.C.), and Ron Johnson (Wis.) have also signaled their support for the legislation, although Johnson did say that it was ultimately “unnecessary” as same-sex marriage currently remains the law of the land.
CNN predicts that the Senate will not vote on the Respect for Marriage Act until after its August recess, closer to the midterm elections.