8.9 C
New York

Ex-House Member Who Voted To Ban Same-Sex Marriage Now Urges GOP To Support It


A former Republican House member who voted to ban same-sex marriage in 1996 is telling his ex-colleagues to now vote in favor of it as “the suitable thing to do.”

Jim Kolbe, who represented Arizona for 11 terms from 1985 to 2007, said he’s now a registered independent and has been married to partner Hector Alfonso since 2013.

He told HuffPost in an interview that he wonders what would occur to his own marriage if, just like the 49-year-old Roe v. Wade abortion precedent, the Supreme Court’s Obergefell decision legalizing same-sex marriage was struck down.

“We’ve had gay marriage for the higher a part of a decade, and there are various families which have been formed with this and folks have had children with this,” Kolbe said.

“The thought of taking away that right is nearly unattainable to contemplate. I don’t understand how you’d even go about it. Would you dissolve their marriages or what?”

In his concurring opinion overturning Roe v. Wade, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas said other precedents like Obergefell needs to be reexamined, setting off alarms from supporters of marriage equality.

Democrats within the House passed the Respect for Marriage Act in July to ensure the suitable to same-sex marriage. To some surprise, it garnered 47 Republican votes, which gave it momentum because it headed to the Senate.

However the bill has stalled there, unable to realize at the very least 10 Republican votes needed to beat a filibuster. Same-sex marriage backers announced Thursday they were pushing aside searching for a floor vote until after the November midterm elections. Whether that may make it easier to pass by taking it off the midterm political field, as backers claim, stays to be seen.

For Kolbe, his stance is 180 degrees from the one he took in 1996, when he and 223 fellow House Republicans voted in favor of the Defense of Marriage Act, which banned same-sex marriage and was overturned by the court’s Obergefell decision. While he cited states’ rights concerns on the time, it’s a vote he now regrets and led to his being outed.

Kolbe had a repute as a solid conservative, but was hiding his sexual identity. After the vote, the LGBTQ magazine The Advocate informed him it planned a story about his sexual orientation in its next issue, he said. Kolbe, knowing he had a number of weeks before publication, said he decided to return out publicly.

Asked if it was a painful experience, Kolbe said, “It was, until it happened.”

Once he knew about the upcoming article he said he felt an excellent sense of calm and an almost physical weight lift from his shoulders.

“I said, ‘That’s over — I’m never going to need to take care of this again,’” he recounted.

He gave a lengthy news conference back in Arizona, answered questions and was reelected by nearly the identical margin as his pre-disclosure tally. He voted against additional Republican attempts to oppose same-sex marriage, met his now-spouse in 2005 and retired from Congress in 2007.

“I obviously feel very passionately about this, that that is something we should always do, and it’s the suitable thing to do,” Kolbe said.

“The thought of taking away that right is nearly unattainable to contemplate. I don’t understand how you’d even go about it. Would you dissolve their marriages or what?”

– Former Rep. Jim Kolbe (R-Ariz.)

Kolbe said he accepted the judgment by proponents that it might be higher to attend until after the election to bring the problem to a Senate vote.

“I could make an argument on the opposite side, that with an election looming, Republicans representing more moderate states and voters don’t need to be on the incorrect side of one other issue after Dobbs,” he said. “But it surely is what it’s and let’s hope it doesn’t wander away within the lame duck.”

As for what he would tell his former colleagues now, Kolbe would keep it short and private.

“I’m married and I now have many friends which can be married — that their marriages are successful. They’re community members, they’re lively in the neighborhood, they’re forming families. And that is just the suitable thing to do,” he said.

“It’s a matter of giving individual liberty, of people, the suitable to decide on who they need to be with, and to present them the identical protections that anybody else has. So that may be the elevator pitch I might give.”

Get the latest Sports Updates (Soccer, NBA, NFL, Hockey, Racing, etc.) and Breaking News From the United States, United Kingdom, and all around the world.

Related articles


Recent articles