Rep. Max Miller's Religious Bigotry Post Complicates Father-in-Law's Senate Run

(Photo courtesy of Max Miller/Facebook)

Ohio freshman Republican Rep. Max Miller trip-wired a religious liberty firestorm on X, née Twitter, and his wife set her X account to private as his father-in-law campaigns to represent the Buckeye State in the Senate.


It started with Lizzie Marbach, a former state GOP official and campaign staffer for former President Donald J. Trump, who X-posted: “There's no hope for any of us outside of having faith in Jesus Christ alone.”

The Marine veteran sub-posted: "This is one of the most bigoted tweets I have ever seen. Delete it, Lizzie. Religious freedom in the United States applies to every religion. You have gone too far." He soon apologized:

Marbach's sentiment echoed 1949's Boston Heresy controversy, which engulfed popular Catholic author and radio personality Father Leonard Feeney, and led to him spending the last years of his life in exile and excommunication. 

Unlike Feeney, Marbach enjoyed wide support from what was once called the Twitterverse.

From that point, it was on, building on threads of strange bedfellows.


Although Marbach accepted Miller's apology, the incident opened up a can of worms for the congressman and social conservatives in the state still figuring out what happened in the Aug. 8 Issue 1 referendum fight they lost -- badly -- with the No vote receiving 57 percent of ballots cast.

In other words, Miller took on a prominent Christian just as social conservatives were conducting an autopsy on the failure of Issue 1. 

The referendum would have raised the threshold for amending the Ohio Constitution from 50 percent to 60 percent of the vote.

Ohio’s Republican Secretary of State Frank LaRose, also running for Senate, went all out for the referendum.

Moreno, on the other hand, did not go all-out for Issue 1, and now the question is if supporters take it out on him after his son-in-law accused Marbach of religious bigotry after she posted a witness of her Christian faith.


Ohio conservatives hoped raising the threshold would forestall the success of another referendum in November that would create a constitutional right to an abortion—after fetal viability

The group backing the pro-abortion referendum, Ohioans for Reproductive Freedom, has already turned in more than 700,000 signatures, more than enough to earn a place on the ballot.

An Ohio Republican operative familiar with the failed referendum told RedState that although all the opponents knew the vote was over abortion rights, the supporters messaged that it was about parental rights and other issues.

Conservatives also pursued a defused approach, with business interests pushing their own message and the conference of Ohio’s Catholic bishops staying on the sidelines.

The operative told RedState there were two or three different signs in his town, each supporting the defeated referendum, which created the impression that there were different questions and positions. 

“Everyone was confused, and when you confuse people on a referendum, they vote no.” 

Miller’s father-in-law Bernie Moreno is running for Senate, and he is campaigning as a social conservative and Trump supporter. 

In the 2022 GOP Senate primary, Moreno met with the president and withdrew from the race just before Trump endorsed author J.D. Vance—now Sen. J.D. Vance. 


The 2022 cycle was the most difficult of the three for Senate Republicans, where they defended 21 seats, while Senate Democrats defended only 14 seats. In that environment, Democrats could only pick up one Senate seat—and that one went to a runoff. 

By contrast, the 2024 cycle has Senate Republicans with 11 seats, while Senate Democrats are defending 23 seats. More troubling for Democrats, three of their seats up are in states won by Trump twice, Montana, West Virginia, and Ohio. 

Editor's Note: A previous version of this article erroneously referred to Bernie Moreno as "Brian." We apologize to our readers for this error. 


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