GOP Senator Ron Johnson: I Won’t Oppose Marriage Equality If Voters Want It

Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson is starting to waiver on opposition to same-sex marriage:

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) said Tuesday he wouldn’t oppose gay marriage if voters decided that’s what they wanted.

“I’m a pretty traditional guy,” Johnson said, in comments reported by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “I’m almost 60 years old. I think marriage is between a man and a woman. But again if the voters decide that they want gay marriage, I’m not going to oppose it.”

“These social issues are going to primarily be decided in the states, through (the) democratic process and that’s the way it should happen,” he said. “I’ll certainly go with the judgment of the American people in terms of where they want to fall on, whether it’s the abortion issues or gay marriage.”

More broadly, Johnson said Republicans should focus on economic, not social, issues to win over voters.

This is the first step toward endorsing marriage equality.

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Shorter Ron Johnson: “I’m OK with discrimination if the majority wants it.”

    I know it is progress, and as you said Doug, “This is the first step toward endorsing marriage equality.” but damn! it is painful to watch sometimes. I much prefer to hear, “My opinion is evolving.” which I know is just code for, “The polls bear watching.” but at least shows a modicum of self-awareness.

  2. C. Clavin says:

    This voter thing is a red-herring.
    Denying marriage equality is unconstitutional.
    Even Scalia says so fer pete’s sake (he does kinda set off my gay-dar).
    Period. Done. End of story.

  3. How exactly would a Senator oppose their state legalizing gay marriage? This is like a candidate pledging to obey the law of gravity.

    It should also be noted that only way for a state-wide ballot initiative to occur in Wisconsin is if the state legislature votes to create one, so for the voters of Wisconsin to decide they want gay marriage “through the democratic process” is for their state legislatures to actively vote for it, not just sit around saying they’ll do whatever the voters want.

  4. al-Ameda says:

    “These social issues are going to primarily be decided in the states, through (the) democratic process and that’s the way it should happen,”

    Well sure, if a majority of the voters want to deny certain people equal protection under the law, so be it.

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