ThinkProgress spoke with some House Republicans on Capitol Hill Thursday to discuss President Obama’s announcement that he supports marriage equality. While everyone we talked to personally opposed same-sex marriage, there was also surprising unanimity in their opposition to a constitutional amendment at the federal level. This is a far cry from the view of congressional Republicans circa 2004, when they voted en masse to ban same-sex marriage.
Rep. Kenny Marchant (R-TX) said he would be opposed to a constitutional amendment because “it’s a state’s rights issue, not a federal issue.” Freshman Rep. Chip Cravaack (R-MN) agreed, saying that “it should remain a state’s issue.” Similarly, fellow freshman Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-SC) told ThinkProgress that although the context could shift depending on how federal courts handle the marriage issue, he declared that “generally speaking, I think that states should be allowed to define marriage:”
MARCHANT: It’s a state’s rights issue, not a federal issue.
KEYES: So you’d be opposed to a federal constitutional amendment?
MARCHANT: Yes, I would.
MULVANEY: Generally speaking, I think that states should be allowed to define marriage.
CRAVAACK: It should be held as a state’s issue.
KEYES: If there were an amendment either way, a federal constitutional amendment, that’s not something you would support?
CRAVAACK: I don’t think… I think it should remain a state’s issue.
Marchant, Mulvaney, and Cravaack may not fully support marriage equality, but they at least recognize that rolling back rights that states have already implemented is wrong. This stands in stark contrast to Mitt Romney’s opposition to letting states decide their own marriage laws. The former Massachusetts governor signed a pledge last August to support “a federal marriage amendment defining marriage as one man and one woman.”