‘Do the right thing:’ Family urges Senate to pass bill protecting same-sex marriage

It was a February night in Washington D.C. nearly two decades ago when Rob Scheer says a chance encounter at a bar transformed his world.

“When I met Reece, it literally changed my life,” said Scheer. “He walked in and I saw him, and I’ll never forget looking at my friend next to me and I said, ‘That’s the guy I’m going to spend the rest of my life with.’”

It turned out that Scheer was right.

That night was the start of a lasting and loving relationship now in its 18th year.

The two were among the first 20 same-sex couples in Washington D.C. to get married in 2010 after it was legalized in the district.

They are now a family of seven, with five adopted children ranging in ages from 13-21.

“They have two dads who love them unconditionally,” said Scheer. “We keep them safe. We provide for them.”

Reece Scheer is now a stay-at-home dad and Rob Scheer runs the nonprofit they both founded called Comfort Cases that helps foster care children.

But they now worry about their family’s future.

After the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June, conservative-leaning Justice Clarence Thomas signaled he wants the high court to reconsider the ruling that legalized same-sex marriage, too.

If the Supreme Court were ever to overturn the legalization of same-sex marriage, the impact on the Scheer family would be devastating.

“I’m the breadwinner in the household and if something happened to me, all of those rights would just go out the door for my husband,” said Scheer.

Earlier this year, the House passed a bill to protect same-sex marriage rights in anticipation of a potential future Supreme Court reversal.

It’s now in the hands of the Senate.

This week, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) wrote on Twitter about the vote, saying: “While MAGA Republicans escalate their rhetoric against marriage equality, we’ve heard Senate Republicans suggest that a vote isn’t necessary. With the threat from the MAGA Supreme Court, we have a responsibility to act. This Senate will vote on the Respect For Marriage Act.”

We spoke with Senate Democrats who say the vote is urgent.

“I’m very concerned that this court might take that right away,” said Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio). “That’s why our doing this is so very, very important.”

The Senators behind the bill say they expect to get enough Republican support to get it passed.

At least 10 Republicans in addition to all Democrats are needed to vote in favor of it for the bill to be sent to President Joe Biden’s desk to be signed into law.

It is still facing opposition from some Republicans who say they have concerns about protecting religious freedoms.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said the bill would be an attack on religious liberties.

We spoke with Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) who said he wants to see the language of the bill before making a decision.

“Let’s make sure we’re not impacting freedom of religion,” said Scott. “I’ll look at it when it comes to me.”

Once it does come to a vote, the Scheer family has this message for senators.

“People are going to look at themselves in the mirror the day of the vote and they’re going to realize that either we break up all these families, because that is what could happen, or they can do the right thing, which is be good humans,” said Scheer.