Zero NC Republicans Voted for House Bill Protecting Marriage Equality

Celebrations outside the US Supreme Court in June 2015 after the court legalized same-sex marriage nationwide. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

By Michael McElroy

July 20, 2022

The bipartisan bill is an effort to secure marriage protections after the Supreme Court’s ruling overturning abortion rights. 

The US House passed a bill on Tuesday securing the right to same-sex marriage at the federal level, and, in a rare display of bipartisanship, 47 Republicans signed on.

But none of those Republicans were from North Carolina.

All eight of NC’s House Republicans, including Rep. Ted Budd, who is running for the US Senate, voted “no.

The House vote came in the wake of the Supreme Court’s recent decision overturning Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 ruling that established abortion rights. As women and abortion rights advocates reeled and seethed across the country, the ruling from the conservative Supreme Court also raised concerns about what other bedrock rights the court might throw out. 

In a concurring opinion, Justice Clarence Thomas made it plain.

Thomas wrote that the court should also consider overturning previous rulings protecting a right to contraception and to marriage equality. Suddenly, it seemed possible that the court may soon allow states to again block same-sex or even interracial marriages. 

If the House bill becomes law it would take the issue out of the Supreme Court’s reach, but its fate is uncertain. 

The legislation, which also protects interracial marriage, will next move to the Senate where it will need at least 10 Republican “yes” votes to pass. And in the eccentric math of Congress, it is likely to be much harder to get 10 Republicans in the Senate than 47 in the House.

But, Republican Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina told CNN on Wednesday that he “probably will” vote yes, raising the chances that Congress could do for gay marriage what it could not do for abortion rights.

If Tillis follows through, it would mark his gradual shift over the last decade away from anti-LGBTQ laws. As North Carolina’s state House speaker in 2011, he backed a controversial constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. Federal courts tossed the discriminatory amendment in 2014. 

In recent months, the U.S. House passed similar bills to secure abortion rights at the federal level and to prevent states from barring pregnant women from traveling across state lines for abortion access. Those bills got only a handful of Republican votes combined.

How the North Carolina Congressional Delegation voted:


Ted Budd, NO

Dan Bishop, NO

Madison Cawthorn, NO

Virginia Foxx, NO

Richard Hudson, NO

Patrick McHenry, NO

Greg Murphy, NO

David Rouzer, NO


Alma Adams, YES

Fox Butterfield, YES

Kathy Manning, YES

Deborah Ross, YES

David Price, YES


  • Michael McElroy

    Michael McElroy is Cardinal & Pine's political correspondent. He is an adjunct instructor at UNC-Chapel Hill's Hussman School of Journalism and Media, and a former editor at The New York Times.

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