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The Gay Senator Who Voted Against Marriage Equality: What You Need to Know

FeaturedVid Aug 02

In another era, when the issue of same-sex marriage was more taboo, the fact that a member of Congress from one of the nation’s most conservative states voted against marriage equality would have been major news. But in 2018, that’s no longer an unusual occurrence. In fact, it’s so common that we almost don’t even notice anymore. This past Tuesday, Senator Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) joined two other Republicans in voting against an amendment to the Constitution which seeks to amend the United States’ equal protection clause to explicitly ban same-sex marriage nationwide. The vote failed by a narrow margin—52 to 48—and only four Democrats in total voted with the GOP on this particular amendment. However, as is typical with any measure which seeks to amend or abolish a part of the Constitution, it will now be brought before Congress again and again until it either passes or fails once and for all.

What is a constitutional amendment?

A constitutional amendment is a method by which Congress can propose changes to the Constitution and then vote on those proposed changes. It is an important concept in American politics because it gives Congress the power to amend the Constitution in order to make amendments that otherwise would not be possible. A constitutional amendment would change the following: 1) Add or delete a part of the Constitution 2) Change what defines “democracy” or “freedom” or any other term in the document

Mike Rounds: The first elected official to oppose marriage equality in the US

Mike Rounds is a Republican Senator from South Dakota and a member of the party that has been at the forefront of legislation supporting marriage equality. In fact, he was one of the first elected officials to support marriage equality during an interview for NPR in 2005. But despite his personal beliefs, he has always voted against same-sex marriage. “I am honored to represent South Dakota,” said Rounds in a statement on his vote. “I believe that marriage is between a man and woman, but I also know that this is not my decision or my family’s decision—it’s the people’s decision.” This past Tuesday, Mike Rounds joined two other Republicans in voting against an amendment to the Constitution which seeks to amend the United States’ equal protection clause to explicitly ban same-sex marriage nationwide. The vote failed by a narrow margin—52 to 48—and only four Democrats in total voted with the GOP on this particular amendment. However, as is typical with any measure which seeks to amend or abolish a part of the Constitution, it will now be brought before Congress again and again until it either passes or fails once and for all.

John Thune: A reliable vote for social conservative causes

The vote against marriage equality represents a much larger trend. With the Republican Party’s shift to the right, it’s not uncommon for Republicans who are considered reliable votes for social conservative issues to oppose same-sex marriage. In fact, many of them have actually been vocal about their opposition to same-sex marriage over the past few years. One of these reliable votes is Senator John Thune (R-S.D.), who voted in favor of an amendment to the Constitution which would ban same-sex marriage nationwide in 2004 and was also one of the lead sponsors of a bill which would prevent the recognition of same-sex marriages performed in states where it is legal before this past legislative session. John Thune is also one of six Republican senators who have sponsored a bill which seeks to ban abortion after 20 weeks nationwide with no exceptions. On top of all this, he has also co-sponsored legislation that protects religious freedom as well as a Constitutional amendment which would prohibit federal courts from overturning state laws prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

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