Congressman attends gay son's wedding after 'no' vote on same-sex marriage bill

·3 min read

Jul. 27—JOHNSTOWN, Pa. — U.S. Rep. Glenn "G.T." Thompson, R-Centre, 15th District, voted against a bill that would federally codify protections for same-sex marriages, just days before attending a wedding for his gay son.

Gawker, a blog that focuses on celebrities and the media, first reported the news, bringing some uncommon national attention to Thompson, whose district includes part of Cambria County.

The Tribune-Democrat is not identifying the congressman's son, who is not a public figure.

But Thompson's press secretary, Maddison Stone, confirmed the representative was at the ceremony.

"Congressman and Mrs. Thompson were thrilled to attend and celebrate their son's marriage on Friday night as he began this new chapter in his life," Stone said in a statement sent to The Tribune-Democrat and other news outlets. "The Thompsons are very happy to welcome their new son-in-law into their family."

When asked if the congressman would be interested in an interview, Stone replied, in an email, that Thompson has "a really busy week."

On July 19, Thompson voted against the Respect for Marriage Act, which passed the U.S. House of Representatives by a vote of 267-157, with all 220 Democrats and 47 Republicans in support.

It declares that no state can deny "full faith and credit to any public act, record, or judicial proceeding of any other State pertaining to a marriage between 2 individuals, on the basis of the sex, race, ethnicity, or national origin of those individuals."

"I think it's hypocrisy myself," Pride of Somerset County founder Alexis Zinovenko said when discussing Thompson's nay vote.

Zinovenko added that "for a sitting congressman to come out and vote as they did and then show up at the wedding seems very disingenuous on their part."

Cambria County Democratic Party Chairwoman Nina Licastro said Thompson "got to enjoy his son's nuptial while trying to take away rights from others."

"Marriage is a legal contract between two consenting adults," Licastro said. "His morality, religion or personal views should not be used to deny others the right to marry the one they love."

Same-sex marriage is currently legal in the United States.

The Supreme Court of the United States ruled — in the 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges case — that same-sex marriage was protected by the Due Process Clause and the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment.

At the time of the ruling, Thompson tweeted, "Today's #SCOTUS ruling disregards the will of millions of Americans by forcing them to redefine biblical #marriage as defined by their faith," according to a story at the time in the meadvilletribune.com.

"I have been in a happy, loving marriage with my husband, Eric Svenson, since August 29, 2015, just a few short months after the Supreme Court's decision on marriage equality," said Philip Bayush, a LGBTQ activist in the Johnstown area. "It is unthinkable that this right should be denied to anyone based on gender or sexual identity. How can this two-faced man look at both his constituents and his son with such conflicting views?

"It is a disgrace to all Pennsylvanians that equal rights are not granted for all."

However, when the SCOTUS recently overturned the Roe v. Wade decision that had made abortion legal, Associate Justice Clarence Thomas referred to Obergefell, writing that "in future cases, we should reconsider all of this Court's substantive due process precedents." That led to the latest effort, mostly by Democrats, to codify same-sex marriage, rather than rely on court precedent.

Stone explained Thompson's opposition to the legislation, saying, "The bill was nothing more than an election-year messaging stunt for Democrats in Congress who have failed to address historic inflation and out of control prices at gas pumps and grocery stores."

The Senate will now consider the Respect for Marriage Act.