Ron DeSantis says same-sex marriage will be used to “marginalize” Christians

Gov. Ron DeSantis
Gov. Ron DeSantis Photo: Screenshot

Florida Gov. and 2024 GOP presidential hopeful Ron DeSantis (R) said that marriage equality will oppress Christians, even though it has been legal in all 50 states for almost nine years now and has not yet resulted in that oppression.

DeSantis was asked about his stance on marriage equality yesterday at CNN’s town hall event in Iowa, and he stopped well short of saying he supports it, saying instead, “I respect the Supreme Court’s decision.”

“We’ve abided by that in Florida even though our Constitution defines it as between a man and a woman,” he said proudly, as if the state had a choice in whether to follow the Supreme Court decision.

Then he ranted about how marriage equality will harm churches without ever explaining how.

“I think what we need to recognize is, you know, you are going to have people try to wield power against our religious institutions and try to marginalize them simply by upholding the biblical definition of marriage,” he claimed. “And so I’m going to protect those religious institutions to be able to do what has always been done in terms of how they consider marriage as a sacrament.”

The government has never forced a church in the U.S. to perform a marriage for a same-sex couple. Nevertheless, since the early 2000s, conservatives have used similar scaremongering claims of churches being forced to do so to incrase public opposition to legalized marriage equality.

In addition to his many attacks on LGBTQ+ rights as governor – which have largely focused on LGBTQ+ and particularly transgender youth – DeSantis hasn’t been very supportive of marriage equality in his career in politics.

In 2012, when he first ran for Congress, arch-homophobe Phyllis Schlafly called him “strong on marriage issues” when she endorsed him. He didn’t say anything about the Supreme Court’s decision to legalize marriage equality in 2015, but immediately afterward, he tried to pass a bill allowing discrimination against same-sex married couples.

Last year, he said there was “no need” for the Respect for Marriage Act, a bill requiring federal and state governments to recognize legal same-sex marriages, and claimed that it would “put religious institutions in difficult spots” even though there was nothing in the bill forcing religious groups to recognize such marriages.

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