While former President Barack Obama entered office in 2009 with the belief that marriage should be between a man and a woman, the Democratic Party’s push for so-called marriage equality has expanded significantly in subsequent years.
During Obama’s second term, the U.S. Supreme Court codified same-sex marriage rights in the Obergefell v. Hodges ruling of 2015.
More recently, numerous GOP lawmakers joined House Democrats in advancing the Respect for Marriage Act, which is designed to force states to recognize marriages certified elsewhere in the United States.
As that measure heads to the U.S. Senate, it appears that it will also receive support from both sides of the aisle in that chamber.
According to recent reports, several Republicans — Sens. Rob Portman of Ohio, Thom Tillis of North Carolina, and Susan Collins of Maine — have joined a pair of Democratic senators in issuing a statement of support for an amendment to the bill.
“The Respect for Marriage Act is a needed step to provide millions of loving couples in same-sex and interracial marriages the certainty that they will continue to enjoy the freedoms, rights, and responsibilities afforded to all other marriages,” the bipartisan group wrote.
The statement went on to tout the proposal’s “commonsense language,” expressing confidence “that this amendment has helped earn the broad, bipartisan support needed” to ensure its passage by the full Senate.
Specifically, the amendment seeks to “confirm that this legislation fully respects and protects Americans’ religious liberties and diverse beliefs, while leaving intact the core mission of the legislation to protect marriage equality.”
Other Senate Republicans are expected to ultimately vote in favor of the amendment, including Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT).
“If that amendment is attached to the bill, I’ll vote for it,” he said.
It’s time for the U.S. Senate to say ‘I do’ to passing a bipartisan law codifying marriage equality. 47 House Republicans supported the House-passed bill championed by @RepCicilline. We need at least 10 Rs in the Senate to follow suit this month to get it passed & signed into law
— Senator Jack Reed (@SenJackReed) November 14, 2022
As Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) explained this week, a preliminary vote on the measure is scheduled for Wednesday and will require the support of 10 Republicans to pass.
“Because my top priority is to get things done in a bipartisan way whenever we can, we determined that this legislation was too important to risk failure, so we waited to give bipartisanship a chance,” he said. “I hope for the sake of tens of millions of Americans that at least 10 Republicans will vote with us to protect marriage equality into law soon. The rights and dignity of millions of Americans depend on it.”