Monday, a group of senators from both parties released an updated version of a bill to protect same-sex marriages at the federal level. They are confident that the bill will get enough support from Republicans to pass the Senate.
Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wisconsin, was in charge of the effort. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Arizona, helped her and Republican Sens. Rob Portman, Susan Collins, and Thom Tillis, all of whom were working on an amendment to the bill to get more Republican votes to stop a filibuster.
In a statement released Monday, the senators said they are “confident that this amendment has helped get the broad, bipartisan support our common-sense legislation needs to become law.”
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said on Monday that the bill, which the group said has the 10 GOP votes it needs to pass, will be voted on this week. This will happen during the lame-duck session after the midterm elections and before the new Congress starts in January.
Democrats want to pass the bill before next year when it’s likely that Republicans will take over the House again.
Some Republicans said the number of votes would be higher after Election Day, so a vote was put off until after the midterms. This gave senators more time to look over the five-page amendment.
In July, the House passed a bill with votes from 47 Republicans and all Democrats in favour.
The group said it amended the bill passed by the House to ensure that the federal government would not have to or be allowed to recognize polygamous marriages. This was done to protect religious freedom and freedom of conscience, which are protected by federal law and the Constitution.
Senators stated, “The Respect for Marriage Act is important to ensure that millions of loving couples in same-sex and multiracial marriages continue to enjoy the same liberties, rights, and responsibilities as all other marriages.”
Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., facing growing dissatisfaction with how he runs the Senate, wouldn’t say if he would vote for or against the bill: “When the votes are called, I’ll vote on that bill,” he told reporters Monday.
The 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, which the Respect for Marriage Act would get rid of, was mainly thrown out by two Supreme Court decisions. After the Supreme Court ruled against Roe v. Wade in June, supporters of same-sex marriage warned that those decisions could also be in danger.
Under the bill, the federal government would have to recognize a marriage between two people if the marriage was legal in the state where it took place.
It would also ensure those valid marriages between two people are given full faith and credit, regardless of their sexes, races, ethnicities, or countries of origin. However, it wouldn’t force a state to provide a marriage license that goes against state law.