Same-sex marriage protection bill clears key hurdle in Senate

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senators Debbie Stabenow and Tammy Baldwin at a news conference.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Sens. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.). Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images.

The Respect for Marriage Act, a bill that would codify protections for same-sex and interracial marriages, cleared a major procedural hurdle in the Senate on Wednesday after gaining enough support from Senate Republicans.

Why it matters: A motion to continue debate on the bill passed by a vote of 62 to 37, surpassing the 60 votes needed to break the Senate filibuster, suggesting the legislation has the support of the House.

What caught our attention: a dozen Senate Republicans voted to pass the bill along with all Democrats.

  • Senators Susan Collins (R-Maine), Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) are involved in efforts to push the bill to a Republican vote and are expected to vote in favor of it .
  • Others who voted in favor were Sens. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Shelley Moore Capito (RW.Va.), Cynthia Loomis (R- -Wyo.), Mitt Romney (R-Utah), Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Todd Young (R-Indiana State) and Lisa Murkowski (Republican-Alaska).
  • The bill has special support from the Mormon Church.
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What’s next: If the amended bill passes the Senate, it will return to the House for another vote. If passed by both chambers, it will head to President Biden’s desk.

  • Leading House Democrats, including LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus Chairman David Cicilline (DR.I.) and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), told Axios that the changes likely wouldn’t stop the House from passing the bill again.
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background: Decisions such as Obergefell v. Hodges, in which Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas endorsed legalizing same-sex marriage in Dobbs v. Jackson, could be affected The bill was introduced in July after threats.

  • The bill passed the House of Representatives later that month with the support of nearly 50 Republicans.
  • In the Senate, progress on the bill has slowed as Republican senators demanded changes to clarify that it would not infringe on religious freedom.
  • It was finally put on hold until after the Nov. 8 midterm elections, when two aides in both parties told Axios it was the best way to get Republican votes. On Monday, a bipartisan group of senators working on the bill announced an agreement on the changes.
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what are they talking about: “Love is love, and Americans should have the right to marry the one they love,” President Biden said in a statement after the vote.

  • Biden urged Congress to get the bill to his desk “swiftly” and said he would sign it into law.

This story has been updated with more details.

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