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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Wednesday, September 28, 2022
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Photo Courtesy of Landre Photography / Creative Commons

Vote on bill to protect same-sex, interracial marriage pushed to after midterm elections

Wisconsin Sen. Tammy Baldwin is advocating on behalf of a bipartisan group of senators to wait to vote on the Respect for Marriage Act which would codify same-sex and interracial marriage. The bipartisan group wants to vote after the November midterm elections. The House of Representatives passed the bill in July. 

Baldwin is a leading negotiator on the bill for Democrats, working with Republican senators to foster agreement. She is also the first known gay politician elected to the U.S. Senate. 

Democrats need the support of at least 10 Republican senators to overcome the filibuster to pass the bill. To gain this support, Baldwin has appealed to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Baldwin believes if voting takes place before the midterms, Republican senators will choose to vote along party lines to ensure re-election. 

“Schumer’s main objective is to pass this important legislation, he will adhere to the bipartisan group of Senators' request to delay floor action, and he is 100% committed to holding a vote on the legislation this year,” a spokesperson for Sen. Baldwin said.

Democrats began pushing this legislation in the wake of the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. They believe the Court’s next step is to overturn precedent that protects gay and interracial marriage.

With Schumer in agreement to vote on the bill after the elections, Baldwin wants to use the extra time to address points of contention for Republicans within the bill.

Concerns that the bill does not address “religious liberties” were expressed in a statement from  Baldwin along with GOP Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Rob Portman of Ohio and Thom Tillis of North Carolina and Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona. Republican senator Rob Portman confirmed GOP senators are “asking for more time to digest [the bill].”

The bill passed through the House of Representatives with 267 to 156 votes. Of those in favor of the bill, 220 were Democrats and 47 were Republicans. 

Ultimately, the bill aims to do the following: protect the right to same-sex marriage nationwide, provide federal protections for interracial marriages, protect under federal law any marriage that was legal in the state it took place and safeguard married couples against discrimination based on sex, ethnicity, race or national origin.

If the Supreme Court moves to turn over the precedent set in Obergefell v. Hodges, which established the right to same-sex marriage, the Respect for Marriage Act would have no effect on the future of same-sex marriage across the nation. The legality would be in the hands of individual states. However, the bill does protect all marriages that came before if the precedent is struck down.

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