Senate defeats filibuster on gay marriage bill, paving path for protecting same sex unions

Written by on November 16, 2022

Senate defeats filibuster on gay marriage bill, paving path for protecting same sex unions

Shared By Peter Boykin – American Political Commentator / Citizen Journalist

Senate defeats filibuster on gay marriage bill, paving path for protecting same sex unions

 

Passage of a measure that would protect gay marriage rights nationwide crossed a key threshold when the Senate defeated a filibuster and set the stage for final approval shortly.

 

Senators voted 62-37 to move the Respect for Marriage Act to the Senate for an up-and-down vote in the near future. Sixty votes were needed to overcome the filibuster and send it to the floor.

 

“Together with broad bipartisan support, the Senate will provide certainty to millions of Americans in loving marriages and enshrine into law the basic protections afforded all Americans while respecting our country’s critical principle of religious liberty,” said Arizona Democratic Sen. Krysten Sinema, one of the negotiators for the bill, on the Senate floor prior to the vote.

 

The measure would enshrine marriage equality months after Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas raised the spectre of reversing the 2015 landmark Obergefell v. Hodges decision recognizing same sex unions.

 

Thomas called on his fellow justices to “reconsider” other rights established by the high court in the wake of its decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, including access to contraception and gay marriage, in an opinion that sparked an outcry on the left.

 

Thomas’ opinion concurring with the court’s decision to remove constitutional protections for abortion access prompted the Democratic-led House to pass a marriage equality bill in July 2022 and the Democratic-led Senate to bring a bill to the floor.

 

“The American people want people to have the freedom to marry whom they love and choose,” said Wisconsin Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin, the first openly gay person elected to the Senate.

 

“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.”

 

When was same-sex marriage legalized?:

 

A quick history of an LGBTQ rights battle in the U.S.

 

Texas GOP Sen. Ted Cruz voiced his opposition to the bipartisan legislation in a September 2022 episode of his podcast, saying the bill would punish religious institutions that use a “biblical definition of marriage” through a loss of funding.

 

“This bill, without a religious liberty protection would have massive consequences across our country, weaponizing the Biden administration to go and target universities, K-12 schools, social services organizations, churches and strip them all of their tax-status,” Cruz said. “That is enormously consequential.”

 

Trying to address concerns over religious liberty, the bipartisan group of senators led by Baldwin unveiled an amendment to the legislation aimed at addressing concerns from conservative lawmakers over religious liberty concerns.

 

The updated language would no longer require nonprofit religious organizations to provide support or facilities for same-sex marriages. And it would not recognize polygamous marriages.

 

Not acting would ‘put LGBTQ families at risk’

Maine Republican Susan Collins, one of the bill’s sponsors, said the changes would strengthen the measure.

 

“This bill recognizes the unique and extraordinary importance of marriage on an individual and societal level,” she said on the floor. “It would help promote equality, prevent discrimination and protect the rights of Americans in same-sex and interracial marriages. It would accomplish these goals while maintaining, and indeed strengthening, important religious liberty and conscience protections.”

 

“Millions of Americans are facing dire consequences of what it would mean if Clarence Thomas has his way. Congress cannot allow the court to put LGBTQ families at risk,” Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin told reporters.

 

LGBTQ activists also warned that the loss of abortion protections could lead to the loss of protections for same-sex marriage.

 

“It is up to the Senate to create the law of the land, that all are able to marry whom they love equally,” said Rev. Paul Brandeis Raushenbush, president and CEO of Interfaith Alliance. “That is just foundational. It’s fundamental.”

 

Raushenbush, an ordained Baptist minister, has performed more than 100 straight and same-sex weddings. He also said that the bill will offer protection to LGBTQ couples and families.

 

“Our religious freedom to perform marriages and have marriages is also something that should be respected by legislators and the courts,” he said. “Having performed all these same-sex marriages … I have to stand up for those because I said to them ‘by the power vested in me by the government, you are declared married’ and I’m not going to turn my back on those marriages.”

 

In July 2022, the House passed the bill in a 267-157 vote— all 220 Democrats voted in favor, with 47 Republicans also supporting the Respect for Marriage Act, which also legalizes interracial marriages.

 

If the Senate passes the legislation, the House will have to vote on the amendment for final passage.

 

For now: The Respect For Marriage Act Has Been Passed By The U.S. Senate. 62-37 Vote Folks! H.R. 8404 Legalized.

 

Source: USA TODAY

 

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