Six Honorable Republicans

I heard a lot about the Gay Marriage Ban Amendment failing in the Senate. I also heard a few times that six Republican senators joined the Democrats in voting to kill the amendment. But what I didn’t hear was which senators, other than John McCain, turned down base-appeasing opportunism in favor of equal rights for all people.

Based on this page from*), the Republicans who voted against are

  • Campbell (R-CO)
  • Chafee (R-RI)
  • Collins (R-ME)
  • McCain (R-AZ)
  • Snowe (R-ME)
  • Sununu (R-NH)

So it’s the usual suspects (Snowe, Collins, and Chafee), McCain (not too surprising), and two surprises: John Sununu and Ben Nighthorse Campbell. Sununu was the elder Bush’s chief of staff for several years is the son of the elder Bush’s former chief of staff, so I can’t find a good reason for his opposition to the amendment. Possibly he voted with the Democrats because he believes in equal rights; perhaps he believes that the Constitution should not be trifled with; or possibly he voted as he did because New Hampshire, as the “Live Free or Die” state, has a strong Libertarian streak (but NH’s other senator, Judd Gregg, voted for the ban). Either way, it will cost Sununu in the short term, so kudos.

Ben Campbell is more easily explained: he’s a lame duck (by choice). The typical Republican Senator knows the amendment has no chance and so could costlessly vote for it as a quick and easy base-pleaser. Campbell has no need to vote to please anyone anymore. On the other hand, it may cost him some future sinecure, so I suppose Campbell deserves some credit on this too.

Democrats deserving scorn: Robert Byrd (D-WV), for whom I have no candidate explanation for his vote, other than possibly being extremely old; Zell Miller (D-Jackass), whose asinine vote needs no explanation; and Ben Nelson (D-NE), for whom I also have no candidate explanation.


(*) It looks like there was a filibuster against the amendment and the vote was actually on a cloture motion.Senators voting “aye” were voting in favor of cloture — moving forward on the amendment — not voting for the amendment itself.