Gov. Ron DeSantis is offering critical comments about legislation signed by President Joe Biden protecting all forms of marriage rights for consenting adults.
The law codifies some gay marriage rights granted in the 2015 Obergfell v. Hodges decision and includes protections of interracial marriage codified in 1967’s Loving v. Virginia.
On a Tuesday evening interview on “The Ingraham Angle” atop a chyron saying the law “restricts freedom of speech and religion,” DeSantis argued that there was “no need” for the Respect for Marriage Act.
“I think they’re raising valid concerns,” DeSantis said of critics of the legislation. “Was interracial marriage even being debated in this country? Nobody’s talking about that.”
Concerns mounted after Justice Clarence Thomas suggested revisiting other decisions, including the legalization of gay marriage, in comments made in the Dobbs decision that overturned Roe v. Wade. Thomas, involved in an interracial marriage himself, did not include interracial marriage with other cases he recommended the court reconsider, though that case was at least partially decided on different grounds than the gay marriage decision and other cases name-checked by Thomas.
For his part, President Biden invoked the plaintiffs in the Loving v. Virginia case in his comments Tuesday from the White House, noting that Mrs. Loving would go on to fight for the right to same-sex marriages decades later.
DeSantis pivoted quickly from interracial marriages to religious freedom, seemingly alluding to same-sex unions.
“They’re using the federal government’s power in ways that absolutely will put religious institutions in difficult spots if you have people who are so inclined to be very aggressive against that,” DeSantis said, not offering specifics.
“I don’t think — there certainly was no need to do this. I do think those concerns are valid,” he added.
Religious institutions do have some protections in the law, as they can refuse to perform gay marriages. States, meanwhile, are not compelled to issue same-sex marriage licenses but must recognize other states’ licensure.