Utahns dropped off hundreds of signatures at Sen. Mitt Romney’s Salt Lake City office Monday urging him to vote for a bill that would protect same-sex marriage.
The Human Rights Commission organized the effort, which also includes phone calls and letters, to get the Republican senator to support the Respect for Marriage Act.
The bill repeals and replaces provisions in federal law that define marriage as between a man and a woman and spouse as a person of the opposite sex with provisions that recognize any marriage that is valid under state law. The U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in 2015.
Romney is undecided on the proposed law, which passed the House with the support of 47 Republicans, including all four Utah GOP congressmen. Romney doesn’t see it as necessary.
“Given the fact that the law is settled on this … I don’t think we need to lose sleep over it unless there were a development that suggested the law was going to be changed,” Romney told reporters in Washington last month.
Many Americans are worried about the future of same-sex marriage because Justice Clarence Thomas criticized the 2015 Obergefell ruling in his concurring opinion in the case overturning Roe v. Wade. Although the majority specifically said marriage rights are secure, some legal experts doubt they can be taken at their word.
“Everyone deserves the opportunity to commit themselves to the person they love, start a family, and to ultimately build and share a life together,” Nick Kiahtipes, HRC board of governors and steering committee member, said in a statement. “Same-sex couples across Utah marry for the same reasons everyone does — to make that lifelong bond with the person they love, and to build loving families.”
Troy Williams, executive director of Equality Utah, said in a tweet last month that he was “in tears” when he found Utah’s congressmen voted for the legislation.
“Their vote affirmed that equality and love are not liberal or conservative values, they are American values,” he said in a statement, adding he looks forward to Romney also voting to affirmatively protect marriage equality. “Doing so, will ensure that these enduring legal protections will continue to strengthen and bless LGBTQ families in Utah.”
Ten Republican senators are needed to bypass the filibuster, and five — Rob Portman, of Ohio, Susan Collins, of Maine, Ron Johnson, of Wisconsin, Lisa Murkowski, of Alaska, and Thom Tillis, of North Carolina — have announced they will support or will likely support the marriage bill, per CNN.
Romney, another key centrist who has sided with Democrats on several high-profile votes this Congress, said the House-passed bill is unnecessary since same-sex marriages are already recognized under the law, according to The Hill.
“We all know what the law is and I don’t see the law changing, so it’s not something I’m giving consideration to at this stage,” he said, adding he would focus on the proposal “if it comes our way.”
The Senate might vote on the proposal in September.