Shortly after the five senators involved in negotiations over the legislation unveiled their amendment Monday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer moved to set up Wednesday’s procedural vote. Clearing the 60-vote threshold allows the Senate to start on the measure and puts the legislation closer to final passage.
Drafters of the plan were optimistic it would garner enough backing from the GOP after a bipartisan group of senators made changes to the bill to protect religious liberty.
On Wednesday the Senate passed historic federal protections for same-sex marriage after a 62-37 vote. The vote was a crucial test of support of the bill, called the Respect for Marriage Act. With the backing of 12 Republican members the Senate easily cleared the 60-vote procedural hurdle needed to move the legislation forward.
The legislation will guarantee recognition of same-sex marriages across state lines, and by the federal government, was moved forward with the vote on Wednesday, a procedural vote with support from 62 senators, including twelve Republicans joining with Democrats to move the bill forward.
Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) said, “individuals in same-sex marriages and interracial marriages need and deserve the confidence and the certainty that their marriages are legal and will remain legal. These loving couples should be guaranteed the same rights and freedoms as every other marriage.”
Jenny Pizer, the chief legal officer for Lambda Legal said, “This may well be the first time there is a standalone bill to affirm legal rights for same-sex couples. It’s a very important moment and it’s about mitigating the harms that the Supreme Court might do.”
Before the vote, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a statement, “Today, the Senate is taking a truly bold step forward in the march toward greater justice, greater equality, by advancing the Respect for Marriage Act. It’s a simple, narrowly tailored but exceedingly important piece of legislation that will do so much good for so many Americans. It will make our country a better, fairer place to live. It is as personal as it gets for many senators and their staffs, myself included.”
Senator Rob Portman (R-OH), whose son came out to him as gay several years ago said, “The bill is about giving people security in their marriages. We’ve shown here through this legislation that these rights can coexist, religious freedom on the one hand, LGBTQ on the other hand. It is my hope that with the changes we’ve talked about today and we’ve all now agreed to, we can pass this legislation with the same kind of overwhelming majority we saw in the Houses of Representatives and therefore settle this issue once and for all.”
Here are the GOP Senators who voted yes:
Blunt (MO) Burr (BC) Capito (WV) Collins (ME)
Lummis (WY) Portman (OH) Romney (UT) Sullivan (AK)
Tillis (NC) Ernst (IA) Young (IN) Murkowski (AK)
The Respect for Marriage Act repeals the Clinton-era Defense of Marriage Act and safeguards same-sex and interracial marriage by requiring the recognition of valid marriages regardless of “sex, race, ethnicity, or national origin.”
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