On Wednesday, a bill to codify same-sex marriage cleared a key hurdle in the Senate. Twelve Republicans joined Democrats to overcome the filibuster and advance the Respect for Marriage Act, which would provide federal protections for same-sex marriage.
The move is partly based on fears that the conservative supermajority on the United States Supreme Court will overturn Obergefell v. Hodges, its 2015 decision that legalized gay marriage nationwide. It’s also motivated by concerns that the incoming Republican majority in the House of Representatives would vote against the bill.
The far-right is outraged at the Senate Republicans who voted to advance legislation to maintain gay marriage as the law of the land. Many mainstream conservatives also oppose the bill, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
The vast majority of Republican senators voted against the Respect for Marriage Act.
Prior to the vote, Ben Shapiro said that senators who support gay marriage should leave the Republican Party and don’t belong in government at all. Shapiro also referenced incest and pedophilia in his meandering monologue.
Although he has a law degree and presumably is aware that getting married conveys hundreds of legal rights to each spouse, in Shapiro’s view, the sole purpose of marriage is to procreate.
Conservative commentator @RedEaglePatriot complained to its 50,000 Twitter followers about Republicans voting with Democrats to ensure that the nation’s roughly 1 million same-sex households can access the same rights as heterosexuals.
“The GOP proving once again how they don’t stand for literally anything,” @RedEaglePatriot added.
People in the comments alleged that the Overton Window—the range of acceptable ideas in society—had “shifted left” and that the “slippery slope continues.”
Unsurprisingly, much of the online discourse is homophobic.
Some extremists used slurs and falsely equated homosexuality with pedophilia, referencing the groomer slur that right-wing homophobic influencers have been pushing online for months.
“[They] put the homosexual perverts ahead of you and your family and for that there can be no forgiveness,” a Gab user wrote of the “Republican traitors.”
Many invoked Biblical passages—the cities Sodom and Gomorrah that were supposedly destroyed for being wicked is a popular reference—and called the senators RINOs, or “Republicans in name only.”
“All of these RINOs need to go to Gitmo,” wrote one user, referring to the Guantanamo Bay prison that QAnon conspiracy types obsess over.
Backlash to the vote and the fact that 37 Republican senators voted against it arguably underscores how increasingly fringe mainstream conservatism has become. Last year, a Gallup poll found that a record high of 70% of Americans support gay marriage, including 55% of Republicans.
The Defense of Marriage Act must still pass the Senate and the House. President Joe Biden has clearly signaled his intention to sign the bill if it passes.