WASHINGTON — Republican congressional candidate Jeffrey Sossa-Paquette spent Thursday, July 28, trying to get a message to fellow Republicans in the U.S. Senate: Support the Respect of Marriage Act. In a letter distributed to senators, Sossa-Paquette said, “As Republicans, we have an obligation to join the majority of Americans who understand the importance of strengthening families with strong marriages and family values, resulting in thriving communities.”
Sossa-Paquette is running to unseat Democratic U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern, who currently represents Massachusetts’ 2nd District.
Speaking with the Athol Daily News, Sossa-Paquette said he received the “most assistance” from the office of Sen. Susan Collins of Maine when it came to getting his letter distributed. The help was needed, he said, due to the strict security implemented in the wake of the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection. “You can’t just walk into a senator’s office anymore,” he said.
The Respect of Marriage Act passed the House of Representatives, with all Democrats and 47 Republicans voting for the measure designed to ensure marriage equality for members of the LGBTQ community. Supporters say the law to codify same-sex marriage is urgently needed given the comments of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas indicating the justices should reconsider earlier Court decisions on gay marriage and birth control. Thomas made his comments in a concurring opinion regarding the overturning of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 ruling that had declared abortion a Constitutional right.
In his letter, Sossa-Paquette introduced himself as the party’s nominee to oppose McGovern, then told GOP senators, “What you don’t know about me is I’m a gay conservative who fought for my rights to adopt my children two decades ago in New Hampshire. I would later marry my husband after Massachusetts became the first state in the nation to recognize the right of same-sex couples to marry.”
Sossa-Paquette said he grew concerned about the future of gay marriage in the wake of the Roe decision.
“I never thought that Roe v. Wade would ever be overturned,” he said. “When it was in fact overturned, I said, ‘Oh, my God.’ Then when the idea was posed that they could undo marriage equality, it’s very hard to say it’s never going to happen because they just overturned 50 years of precedent. So, then I thought, ‘OK, let’s get this codified into law.’
“Do I think my marriage is in jeopardy at this particular moment? No, I don’t. But I look at it this way: Sixty days ago, we didn’t think Roe v. Wade was going to be overturned either.”
His letter to GOP lawmakers concluded, “Politically, we need to end the constant drum beat from Democrats that Republicans disdain the LGBT community and join me in demonstrating that Republicans support the kinds of freedoms the LGBT community deserve. Please … vote to codify Marriage Equality, proving once and for all the Republican party is a party for all Americans.”
Asked if disparaging comments about homosexuals from Republican candidate for Massachusetts Secretary of State Rayla Campbell, U.S. representatives Marjorie Taylor-Greene and Lauren Boebert, and others makes it difficult for him to claim the GOP supports LGBTQ rights, Sossa-Paquette said, “When I hear those comments, I just say, ‘You’re just running your mouth, and it’s unacceptable.’ My job as a Republican is to represent all citizens in the way that founders of the party, like Abraham Lincoln, meant it to be, which is an inclusive party for all. I say to myself, ‘If President Lincoln was alive today, he would be shocked at what has happened to it.’ I’m fighting to remind everybody what the Republican Party actually is and what it stands for.”
Sossa-Paquette said he also wanted his message to reach Rep. Matt Gaetz, one those members of the House who had voted against marriage equality legislation. He said the Florida Republican was being hypocritical for stating recently the LGBTQ community should be anti-abortion because its couples want the opportunity to adopt, then turning around and opposing the Respect of Marriage Act.