Mehmet Oz, Pennsylvania’s Republican Senate candidate, indicates he’d vote yes on same-sex marriage bill

Republican Senate candidate Mehmet Oz said Tuesday he supports the right to same-sex marriage, making the statement as the Senate considers a vote that could codify that right into law.

Several GOP lawmakers have stated support for “The Respect for Marriage Act” would codify at the federal level same-sex marriage and interracial marriage, both of which were legalized through Supreme Court decisions in 2005 and 1967, respectively, that remain the law of the land.

Dr. Mehmet Oz believes that same-sex couples should have the same freedom to get married as straight couples,” campaign spokesperson Brittany Yanick said in response to a question about whether he supports the measure.

» READ MORE: Pa. lawmaker opposed same-sex marriage, then attended gay son’s wedding

Oz’s stance echoes some of his past statements in support of LGBTQ issues. It also marks a clear pivot to the general election after he staked out a hard-line conservative stance on abortion and guns during Pennsylvania’s primary.

It also comes at a moment when some Republicans around the country, especially in swing districts, are supporting the same-sex marriage, which remains incredibly popular among American voters. But the official Republican Party platform, not changed since 2016, still defines marriage as between one man and one woman.

Democrats have tried to use the recent Supreme Court decision to overturn abortion rights as a catalyst for their voters this fall, while warning that rights to same-sex marriage and contraception could be the next to fall.

Same-sex marriage remains legal, but Democrats have introduced the bill in response to Justice Clarence Thomas’ concurring opinion in the case that overturned Roe v. Wade last month. In it, he suggested rulings on LGBTQ rights, contraception, and marriage equality to be reconsidered.

However, Justice Samuel Alito wrote in the majority opinion that nothing in it “should be understood to cast doubt on precedents that do not concern abortion.”

Dr. Mehmet Oz believes that same-sex couples should have the same freedom to get married as straight couples.”

Campaign spokesperson Brittany Yanick

The marriage bill made its way easily through the House with the support of almost 50 Republicans, including Pennsylvania Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick, Dan Meuser, and archconservative Scott Perry. (Rep. Glenn Thompson, who represents parts of north-central and northwestern Pennsylvania, voted against the bill and then attended his gay son’s wedding the following weekend.)

The bill will need support of 10 Republican senators to pass. Five have indicated some level of support for the legislation. Several who oppose it, including Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, haven’t done so by denouncing same-sex marriage but rather calling it a “waste of time” and a gimmick by Democrats to drum up support. Sen. Mitt Romney (R., Utah) said he’s undecided because he felt there was no urgency on the issue, given the same-sex marriage remains legal under the law.

» READ MORE: Democrats in Pennsylvania got an infusion of money after Roe v. Wade was overturned

Pennsylvania’s outgoing Republican senator, Pat Toomey, has not said how he’d vote.

But both of his potential replacements appear to be for it; the Democratic candidate, Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, has said he’d vote for the bill.

Oz doesn’t list LGBTQ rights or same-sex marriage on a long list of issues on his official campaign website.

Same-sex marriage wasn’t a major issue in the GOP primary, but Oz and rival David McCormick repeatedly attacked each other during that race on transgender rights. McCormick showed clips of the TV celebrity doctor interviewing transgender teens on his TV show, programming that earned him praise fromthe LGBTQ-rights group GLAAD back in 2015.

Oz has since shown a more conservative stance on transgender rights. He has said he does not support transgender women playing women’s sports, and his campaign has compared his stance on the issue to that of Harry Potter author JK Rowling, who has faced backlash for anti-transgender comments.

Staff writer Jonathan Tamari contributed to this article.

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