Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, stands by her vote approving the "Respect for Marriage Act," although Iowa Republican groups are moving to censure her.
"I don't agree with the censure," Ernst told reporters Monday. "But I will say that I stand by my vote, and I hope that more people will actually read the bill and understand we have just improved upon religious liberty protections, not just in Iowa, but across the United States."
Iowa Republican county parties have voted to censure or condemn Ernst, among a dozen Republicans voting for the "Respect for Marriage Act." According to reports from the conservative blog Iowa Standard, those counties include Des Moines, Guthrie, Ida, Mahaska, Pocahontas, Van Buren, and Wright.
The "Respect for Marriage Act" would guarantee federal recognition of any marriage between two individuals if the union was valid in the state where they married. The legislation does not recognize polygamous marriages.
It would require states to accept the validity of marriages performed elsewhere but not require any state to issue a marriage license contrary to its own existing law.
The bill was drafted after the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. In that ruling, Associate Justice Clarence Thomas expressed interest in revisiting same-sex marriages.
The bill got a final vote in the House last week and now awaits signing by President Joe Biden.
Ernst told reporters on Monday that she feels the bill safeguards religious freedom while preserving the status quo in Iowa. She also noted that the legislation does not require religious institutions to recognize same-sex marriages.
"So you can think about those that might have a religious opposition to baking cakes for same-sex marriages," she said. "That's already covered in the law. But this only applies to government actors. Again, not private individuals or churches."
"What they're doing is censuring me for maintaining the status quo and actually providing greater religious freedoms for everyone across the United States of America," Ernst said.
© 2023 Newsmax. All rights reserved.