FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — The bill to protect same-sex and interracial marriage passed the U.S. Senate with a 61 to 36 vote on Tuesday, and Arkansas lawmakers explained their decision to vote against the bill.
The current bill has bipartisan support from democrats and republicans, with more than two-thirds of senate republicans voting against the bill, including both U.S. Senators from Arkansas.
Two of Tuesday’s 36 votes against the bill came from Arkansas Sens. John Boozman and Tom Cotton.
In a statement, Sen. John Boozman (R) says “This is an attempt by democrats to score political points by manufacturing a threat to marriage that the court acknowledges is unfounded while diverting attention away from their failed agenda that has made it harder for families to afford everyday essentials,” Boozman said.
While Sen. Tom Cotton (R) echoed that same concern and stated “The bill is a solution in search of a problem; not only is family law outside of Congress core responsibilities, unlike runaway spending and the border crisis, but the bill also lacks sufficient religious liberty protections,” Cotton said.
For a local LGBTQ+ non-profit organization, the Respect for Marriage Act was a win their community needs to hear.
“I think people feel very reassured,” Megan Tullock said.
People like Tullock said they don’t view this decision as having anything to do with politics it’s about treating people as people.
“I think lots of people who aren’t allies, aren’t members of the LGBTQ community, did a lot of work to make this happen because they love queer people themselves because they recognize the value of diversity in a society,” Tullock said.
Megan Tullock is the Director of Programs at Northwest Arkansas Equality and says when Roe v Wade was overturned in June, members of the communities she represents were feeling uneasy.
“I think it can be very scary to feel like that progress that’s been so hard fought and hard won by so many different people at different groups over time can be stripped away,” Tullock said.
The House of Representatives passed the Respect for Marriage Act, and now that the Senate has modified it and passed its own version of the act, the House has a chance to send it to President Joe Biden’s desk.