One day after voting to enshrine gay ‘marriage’ into federal law, a position that runs contrary to both the Republican Party Platform and his Catholic faith, U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan attempted to frame his action as a vote for religious liberty.

Sullivan and Sen. Lisa Murkowski were among 12 Republicans who voted with all the Senate Democrats on Nov. 28 to pass the so-called Respect for Marriage Act, which intends to enshrine gay “marriage” into federal law. Sullivan, who claims to be a conservative, has received substantial push back for his vote.

“While I’ve long held that marriage should be an issue left up to the states, the Supreme Court nationalized the issue in Obergefell v. Hodges in 2015,” Sullivan posted to social media on Nov. 29. “Although I disagreed with Obergefell, I said then I would respect the Court’s decision and also continue to fight for, respect, and defend the religious liberty of all Americans.”

The 2015 Supreme Court decision in Obergefell said states could no longer define marriage as the union of one man and one woman, but had to recognize gay “marriage.” The official Republican Party Platform clearly opposes this ruling.

Worried that a more conservative U.S. Supreme Court might one-day overturn Obergefell, Democrats have pushed the so-called “Respect for Marriage Act” (RFMA) as a way to ensure that the high court would not be able to unravel gay “marriage” by overturning Obergefell sometime in the future.

“This is personally an uncomfortable place to be and is one of several reasons why this has been one of the most challenging and difficult votes of my Senate career.”

– Sen. Sullivan on the fact that the Catholic Church opposes his vote.

Sullivan, however, attempted to argue that the bill “is much more about promoting and expanding religious liberty protections than same-sex marriage.”

Democrats, however, openly admit that the bill is primarily about enshrining same-sex “marriage,” and the religious liberty provisions that Sullivan boast about are inferior and woefully insufficient according to many leading religious freedom advocates, most of his fellow Republican Senators and countless clergy and religious liberty advocates across the nation.

After Democrats were successful, earlier this month, in pressuring Sullivan, Murkowski and 10 other Republicans to jump the GOP ship and help them overcome the 60-vote filibuster on the bill, Sullivan attempted to get some religious liberty protections added to the bill, after the fact.

In the end, however, Democrats shot down all meaningful attempts to insert religious liberty protections. Sullivan supported these failed efforts, but still voted in favor of the bill, even without them.

“While the final product does not include every religious liberty protection I voted to include, it is my sincere judgment that the bill we passed in the Senate today – unlike the House bill – is much more about promoting and expanding religious liberty protections than same-sex marriage,” he asserted.

Sullivan then noted that a few religious groups that affirm the traditional definition of marriage, such as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), backed the legislation.

The LDS church, while still teaching that marriage is between a man and a woman, has softened its public stance in recent years. It reversed a policy from 2015 that banned same-sex couples from membership. That same year, LDS Apostle Elder Dallin H. Oaks, a top church leader, said churches should work to find compromises with local governments when dealing with laws that conflict with church teachings on marriage and sexuality. Also, in 2015, top LDS leaders joined LGBTQ advocates and Utah lawmakers to pass a statewide LGBTQ non-discrimination bill, which offered exemptions for churches and some other religious-liberty protections.

U.S. Catholic bishops conclude that the bill is dangerous to any American who wishes to uphold the truth about marriage in the public square.

On Nov. 29 the LDS church issued a statement praising the RFMA’s limited religious freedom provisions, claiming that it both respects the law while “preserving the rights of our LGBTQ brothers and sisters.”

“We believe this approach is the way forward,” the LDS church said. “As we work together to preserve the principles and practices of religious freedom together with the rights of LGBTQ individuals, much can be accomplished to heal relationships and foster greater understanding.”

Countless other U.S. religious organizations that hold much stronger convictions about traditional marriage, including the Catholic Church that Sullivan claims to adhere to, expressed deep concerns about the legislation.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a statement strongly opposing the bill.

“The Catholic Church will always uphold the unique meaning of marriage as a lifelong, exclusive union of one man and one woman,” the Nov. 17 statement explained. “Senators promoting the Act have claimed that their amended bill ‘respects and protects Americans’ religious liberties,’ but the provisions of the Act that relate to religious liberty are insufficient.”

The bishops point out that the religious protections Sullivan touts actually “fail to resolve the main problem with the Act: in any context in which conflicts between religious beliefs and same-sex civil marriage arise, the Act will be used as evidence that religious believers must surrender to the state’s interest in recognizing same-sex civil marriages. Wedding cake bakers, faith-based adoption and foster care providers, religious employers seeking to maintain their faith identity, faith-based housing agencies – are all at greater risk of discrimination under this legislation.”

The Catholic bishops conclude that the bill is dangerous to any American who wishes to uphold the truth about marriage in the public square.

“The Act does not strike a balance that appropriately respects our nation’s commitment to the fundamental right of religious liberty,” the bishops conclude. “Senators supporting the Act must reverse course and consider the consequences of passing an unnecessary law that fails to provide affirmative protections for the many Americans who hold this view of marriage as both true and foundational to the common good.”

Sullivan was well aware of these concerns.

“…I realize that many in Alaska’s faith community were not supportive of this bill and my vote in support, including many from my own Catholic faith community,” he acknowledged. “This is personally an uncomfortable place to be and is one of several reasons why this has been one of the most challenging and difficult votes of my Senate career. I recognize that people of good intentions can and do disagree strongly on this issue.”

Now that the bill has passed the Senate, it heads back to the House, which approved an earlier version this past summer. President Biden has pledged to sign it.

Click here to support Alaska Watchman reporting.

Sen. Sullivan tries to claim his vote for gay ‘marriage’ is really a vote for religious freedom

Joel Davidson
Joel is Editor-in-Chief of the Alaska Watchman. Joel is an award winning journalist and has been reporting for over 24 years, He is a proud father of 8 children, and lives in Palmer, Alaska.


  • gary ohmer says:

    Another useless RINO stabbing his own in the back – how can he call himself as a catholic?

    • Richard K CORBeil says:

      The same way he calls himself a republican. The rules of the club that he is a member of do not apply to him.

  • Neil DeWitt says:

    Dan Sullivan. you better sign up for more dance classes. You didn’t get your money’s worth on the first go around. You can spin it anyway you want. The bottom line is YOU,didn’t vote against this bill youvoted for it. Years in the future when school kids are doing research it will show you voted for this. It won’t tell your lies to cover up how you voted. As a professed Catholic you both should be ashamed but Lisa doesn’t know the meaning of that word. I’d hope you might still but a great hole in the force was felt by all American’s after this vote.

  • Steve says:

    Dan Sullivan, like Lisa Murkowsi, is a sell-out of the Republican and Christian society. He can talk all the hogwash he wants to justify his vote for queer marriage, but in the long run it’s just a vote to get the liberals in the state to cover his ass when RCV rolls around come 2026. I can only imagine the Marines active, and veteran that are ashamed of his vote for queer marriage. Next time Dan waves his hand in gesture, know he’s actually flipping the bird at those who supported him.

    • Truth Network says:

      How novel. a legislator legislating in a way that aligns with the electorate’s desires. Legislators should serve all their constituents, not just extremists. I am proud that Sullivan is putting his country, his state, and his fellow citizens ahead of the narrow-minded preferences of fanatics.

  • FreedomAK says:

    Truer words…. Thank you Steve. Sullivan is the epitome of the cliche slippery double-talking politician. He reminds me of all the spineless officers and NCO’s I endured when I served. We called them “Lifers”. No courage and their only obvious concern was self-preservation and reaching a comfortable retirement. From what I’ve observed, Sullivan has all the unfortunate characteristics of being a lifer. As I told Sullivan in my blunt email communication with his office, respect can be demanded (as in the Corp) but it’ll always be faux respect, not truth. I’m thinking he doesn’t care either way. He doesn’t represent conservative Alaskans and doesn’t deserve my respect, and he’s sure as hell no leader.

  • brandon says:

    They would both be GONE if our voting system wasn’t undermined.

  • DaveMaxwell says:

    Dan Sulliedman has a native spouse, I’m not convinced that it is female?
    I am convinced that Danny boy is not a man

  • Matthew myers says:

    Fake Christian. Fake Republican. Liar, leftist, and opportunist.

  • Steve Lankerd says:

    I will not be voting for Dan when his term is up… He is not a Christian or follows Christian beliefs… He has endangered real Christian values and morals…

  • Kathy L. says:

    nice try Mr. Sullivan. No…your vote means LESS religious liberty! You and your middle-of-the-road positions will (and even now ARE) stand before God. This is a strike against His image!

  • Tamra Nygaard says:

    I have no idea how either Sullivan or Murkowski can darken the door of a Catholic Church without being struck by their consciences, but apparently time in Washington DC imparts some sort of “protection” against both the Word of God and the Catechism of the Catholic Church. The proper response to any and all requests from either of these miscreants for votes, money or support should be precisely what each has said to us: Hell No.

  • Kathleen Lynn LaMantia says:

    He can go to Confession on Saturday and his confessor can give him a penance designed to clear him to receive Communion on Sunday but Sullivan has sullied himself in my books by this vote as well as his endorsement of Murkowski. I think the only fit penance is a recall that walks him the while long way back from Washington. I am willing to support the work to that end.

    • Steve says:

      Do you honestly think Dan is of character to repent? He’s in total denial at the damage he’s done. If anyone should repent it would be me for voting for him.

  • Mortified says:

    Mr Sullivan, Your conscience is seared, you have a darkened understanding of what is truth and what is a lie. Your approval of same sex marriage is all the proof we need to know how far away from reality you have let yourself slip. The Bible calls it becoming ship wrecked, not words you want to hear concerning your manner of living.

  • Akdale says:

    not one bit surprised. sadly i predict he will be reelected. not by me though

  • Jack Roberts says:

    His explanation sounds somewhat like that of another attorney, “It depends on what the meaning of is, is.”
    95% of attorneys give the rest a bad name.

  • jon says:

    Thank you, Dan Sullivan and Lisa Murkowski, for voting to support love. The Declaration says we certain have unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. If you have happiness, let them have theirs.

    • Nicholas says:

      They may pursue happiness, but not at the expense of the government holding me at gunpoint to affirm their decisions.

    • Steve says:

      In your same frame of logic should a child be able to have himself castrated in pursuit of his happiness? Never mind, I probably already know your answer.

    • Matthew myers says:

      And what about the nambla folks. Give them their happiness? Perversion is perversion even if you call it love.

  • Mary says:

    In the beginning, God created man and woman. He said, “be fruitful and multiply”. God designed marriage as an agreement between Himself, one man and one woman. There is no place for the government to be involved in the order to “be fruitful and multiply.” You, Dan Sullivan, think you can act in the place of God and change His Word. Confess, repent, and you will be saved.

  • Molly says:

    You are a traitor to WE THE PEOPLE not just of Alaska, but the nation as well. Own it, you have shown your true colors. You will never get our trust back, your continued support of the DNC along with Lisa the Liar will not be forgotten.
    Your faith is missing, your integrity is missing, and your honor is missing. We call your office, we leave messages, we send email, you never respond. This is how you treat your constituents…. We will remember. For those that don’t remember your evil deeds, i will be ready to remind them…

  • Friend of Humanity says:

    Dr. Scott Lively talks with Mike Adams/Health Ranger Report about how every person should have equal rights – not one person/group over another. History about the LGBTQ movement is discussed and how the movement now could lead to the collapse of human civilization.

  • Oliver OGrady says:

    What did the Bishop say to the Priest ? Let us prey

  • John J Otness says:

    OUR GOVT IS OWNED BY SATAN. There is no other explanation for why the shift has occurred.

  • MF says:

    Sullivan has obviously fallen prey to a D.C. category “palantir,” (vision orb from Lord of the Rings) or the equal thereof. At what point does a senator or congressman turn to evil? (It didn’t take Sullivan long!) Perhaps they start out with the best of intentions, but eventually succumb to temptations, pressure, greed, whatever the case may be. I think Sullivan has always been a weak man. We can’t rely on him. He needs to go.

  • Jen says:

    2026 depends who democrats prop-up to challenge him and any future events to
    determine my continual support. May be in our est
    interest unify to
    keep sullivan. As this post was
    posted akdems are sharpening
    Their knives.

    • Matthew myers says:

      I’d rather have a Demoncrat that is honest about it to break the RINO cycle. Try again later.

  • Ruth says:

    Sullivan is a CFR member, an organization that has been at the forefront to remove US sovereignty for almost 100 years. Stop voting for people that want World Governance and to destroy the United States. He doesn’t, and has never had our best interests in mind.

  • Carol Allums says:

    This is ridiculous. I received a copy of Sullivan’s letter defending his position in my email inbox. He claims more religious protection will be afforded by this but it will not. If you read the text of the Act you will find that the only religious protection offered is for non-profits, i.e. churches, adoption agencies, etc. There is nothing that explicitly gives the average business owner the right to refuse service due to a violation of conscience. It does not acknowledge that there are people who are not religious who still hold same sex marriage as wrong. And, if you read the overview of the Act on you will see that it’s purpose is listed as, “This bill provides statutory authority for same-sex and interracial marriages. ” I cannot speak to the racial part of this as I am not aware that any state prohibits interracial marriage. Furthermore, if they do, that just proves their ignorance of basic biology. However, Sullivan tries to divert the attention to the purpose of the bill which is clearly stated to provide authority for same sex marriage. Shame on you, Senator Sullivan. The rest of us may be ordinary people without a title, but we are not stupid and we CAN read.