President Joe Biden had a stark warning to his Democratic supporters and colleagues on Wednesday: Republicans are next for gay marriage.
That was the message he delivered to donors at a Democratic National Committee fundraiser last night as the White House and Democrats nationally face questions about whether they have a strategy to see abortion rights protected at the federal level in the event that the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade.
“Mark my words: They are going after the right of the Supreme Court decision on the right to same-sex marriage,” he warned.
His warning about conservative pressures to ban contraception, previously unthinkable but now possible under the Court’s strong conservative majority, was the same.
“We will go back to Griswold vs. Connecticut, where there was a time in Connecticut law that a married couple, in the privacy of their own bedroom, cannot use contraception; it was a decision: the government can make the decision, you cannot do that,” the president predicted.
The president’s comments would seem outlandish given that the GOP has largely moved away from gay marriage and contraception issues, except for comments from some Republicans recently; In March, during confirmation hearings for Ketanji Brown Jackson, Sen. John Cornyn joked that the Supreme Court had “invented” marriage rights for gay and lesbian Americans during the Obama administration.
And on Sunday, Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves refused to answer a question from meet the press host Chuck Todd on whether he would sign a hypothetical bill banning contraception in his state.
Republicans have been sharply divided in their reaction to the leak of the draft that revealed Roe’s apparent imminent demise, largely a symptom of the strong popularity the original ruling enjoys in today’s society and particularly among older age groups. youths. Some, like Republican Ohio Senate candidate JD Vance, have celebrated the news that Roe could be overturned, and some have happily pushed the idea of seeking a nationwide ban. Others have expressed hesitation in carrying out such a ban at the national level, given the desire by many for the laws to be decided by individual states.
Democrats, meanwhile, have insisted that the GOP’s conservative base will force the party to continue pushing legislation banning abortion care nationwide and soon at the federal level, while warning that a host of other precedents, including the decisions that led to the end of interracial marriage bans and the integration of America’s public schools could be in the spotlight as the nation’s highest court takes a radical turn to the right.
But activists have pressed the party to take action now that would have tangible effects, something the party has yet to show signs of doing. As of now, most Democrats seem content to drop the issue for November in the hope that voters will see fit to elect “more pro-choice leaders,” as Vice President Kamala Harris put it after the failed vote. in the Senate to codify the right to abortion into law. .
Biden’s comments on Wednesday were somewhat emblematic of this, as they were delivered at a fundraiser for his party’s efforts to maintain majorities in the House and Senate.
He detailed, in his remarks, how the draft Roe decision presented both an opportunity for success and a devastating failure for Democrats in the fall, explaining: “[Y]You know, if the Court goes along with this leaked opinion, it has the potential to generate significant enthusiasm to get out there and vote, but it also has enormous potential if, if we fail, what will it mean, what will it mean.”
Legislation that would have codified abortion rights into law failed by 49 votes to 51 on Wednesday, with Sen. Joe Manchin joining Republicans in opposing it. Negotiations between Democrats and some moderate Republicans like Susan Collins continue, but any compromise legislation is highly unlikely to reach the 60-vote threshold needed to sidestep a filibuster by the Republican minority.