Despite being married to former U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao, a Taiwanese American, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell voted against the Respect for Marriage Act, which protects interracial unions.
Chao, who earlier made history by being the first person of Asian descent to be chosen to a presidential cabinet, is married to McConnell, who was recently re-elected as the head of the Senate GOP on Wednesday.
The 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, which established marriage as between one man and one woman on a federal level, was repealed by the Respect for Marriage Act. The proposed law would oblige all states to recognize valid marriages regardless of “sex, race, ethnicity, or national origin” regardless of where they were performed.
Following his vote against moving the proposal forward, McConnell came under fire from people on social media who cited his friendship with Chao.
“Mitch McConnell, a man in an interracial marriage, votes against protecting interracial marriage,” former Democratic congressional candidate Nina Turner tweeted.
“My guess is McConnell’s opposition has to do with same-sex marriage, not interracial marriage,” investigative reporter Brendan Kirby wrote
Regardless of McConnell’s vote, the legislation is expected to pass the Senate this week after receiving the required 60 votes. In a 62-37 vote, 12 Republican senators joined Democrats in supporting the measure.