Prominent gay Republican helped pave way for marriage bill

“In my experience, the most important political decisions are not made in Washington alone,” Mr. Melman said. “If you can take the pulse of voters and congressional districts and mobilize activists and others, you can be very persuasive.”

In the end, at least one senator from every state that was on the ballot voted in favor of the bill.

Susan Collins of Maine, the top Senate Republican negotiator, credits Mr. The efforts of Mehlman and the outside team to help her party cross the finish line.

“It all helped support our supporters and certainly helped us break the magic number of 10,” she said. Collins said in an interview. “It makes our supporters feel less alone, but it also plays a key role in getting us to the bottom line. It’s comforting to Republicans in a bubble.”

gentlemen. Mellman, who has worked to broaden Republican acceptance of gay- and trans-friendly policies, also relied on a network of Republicans he recruited in 2019 to urge the Supreme Court to declare the Civil Rights Act of 1964 explicitly prohibiting discrimination at work gays, lesbians and transgender people.

“We have a network of individuals who live in these states, are active in these states, and they also believe in the freedom to marry,” Mr. Melman said. “They’re happy to present their case to senators, either directly or through an op-ed.”

Supporters also made personal calls for the legislation, with arguments that suited a conservative audience. Back in July, after the passage of the House of Representatives, Mr. Mellman and former Attorney General Theodore Olson published an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal urging the Senate to follow suit, asserting that “as conservatives, we should promote freedom and limited government. This includes supporting American citizens The freedom to marry the one you love.”

The group took out a full-page ad in the Wall Street Journal in September with a letter in support of the legislation signed by 450 prominent Republican figures, including former Republican Senator Olympia Sen. Olympia Snowe; Tony Fabrizio, a Republican pollster who worked for former President Donald J. Trump; Ben Ginsburg, a prominent Republican lawyer; Mary Cheney, the openly gay and married daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney; Tom Ridge, Trump’s former secretary of homeland security. Bush; and Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker.

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