BREAKING NEWS: Senate PASSES vote to make same-sex marriage federal law – with 11 Republicans joining all Democrats to send bill back to the House
- The Senate-modified bill will now head back to the House, where it’s expected to pass quickly and head to President Joe Biden’s desk for his signature
- Biden hailed the bill’s bipartisanship and invited all 11 GOP senators who voted for it to the White House for the likely future signing ceremony
- Three Republican-led amendments to the bill all failed before the final vote
- The House of Representatives passed the Respect For Marriage Act in July
- Schumer pointed out to reporters before the vote Tuesday that he was wearing the same tie he wore to his daughter’s wedding to another woman
The United States Senate voted to enshrine the right to same-sex and interracial marriage into federal law on Tuesday.
The Respect For Marriage Act passed on a 61-36 vote. Eleven Republicans voted with Democrats on the measure.
It now heads back to the House of Representatives, where it’s likely to pass the Democrat-controlled chamber swiftly enough to head to President Joe Biden’s desk before the current Congressional term is over.
Democrat Senator Tammy Baldwin, who helped spearhead the bill, appeared emotional on the chamber floor before the final vote.
Other Democrats dressed in symbolic shades to mark the historic legislation, with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer wearing the same tie he wore to his daughter’s same-sex wedding and Senator Kyrsten Sinema coordinating her outfit to represent the colors of the bisexual pride flag.
‘The Senate just passed the Respect for Marriage Act! This is a huge win in the fight to protect marriage equality,’ Congressional Progressive Caucus Chair Rep. Pramila Jayapal said in a statement after Tuesday’s vote.
‘There’s no time to waste. The House must act swiftly to get it to the President’s desk.’
The Respect For Marriage Act passed the Senate on a 61 to 36 vote on Tuesday evening
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer marked the historic vote by wearing the same purple tie he had on during his daughter’s same-sex wedding
The president hailed the bill’s passage through the Senate as well, hailing the ‘bipartisan achievement’ while personally naming all 11 Republicans who voted for it.
‘With today’s bipartisan Senate passage of the Respect for Marriage Act, the United States is on the brink of reaffirming a fundamental truth: love is love, and Americans should have the right to marry the person they love,’ Biden said in a statement sent out by the White House.
11 Republican senators who voted for the Respect For Marriage Act
Roy Blunt (Missouri)
Richard Burr (North Carolina)
Shelley Moore Capito (West Virginia)
Susan Collins (Maine)
Joni Ernst (Iowa)
Cynthia Lummis (Wyoming)
Lisa Murkowski (Alaska)
Rob Portman (Ohio)
Mitt Romney (Utah)
Dan Sullivan (Alaska)
Thom Tillis (North Carolina)
Todd Young (Indiana)
‘Importantly, the Senate’s passage of the Respect for Marriage Act is a bipartisan achievement. I’m grateful to the determined Members of Congress — especially Senators Baldwin, Collins, Portman, Sinema, Tillis, and Feinstein — whose leadership has underscored that Republicans and Democrats together support the essential right of LGBTQI+ and interracial couples to marry.’
He finished, ‘I look forward to welcoming them at the White House after the House passes this legislation and sends it to my desk, where I will promptly and proudly sign it into law.
Sixty-one senators voted to advance the bill in a procedural maneuver on Monday, while 35 opposed it.
The Respect for Marriage Act first passed the House of Representatives in July in a 267 – 157 vote.
The bill does not force states to perform same-sex marriages, but mandates that all 50 recognize same-sex and interracial marriages conducted in any other state.
Republicans have criticized the bill as weak on protections for religious institutions.
GOP Senators Marco Rubio, James Lankford and Mike Lee all introduced amendments to the bill aimed at safeguarding ‘religious liberty’ in the bill.
Lee’s bill, which he called a ‘simple, commonsense amendment,’ is aimed at prohibiting ‘the federal government from retaliating against any person or group for adhering to sincerely held religious beliefs and moral convictions about marriage,’ the Utah senator wrote in a Fox News op-ed.
It failed to get the 60 votes necessary to be attached to the final bill, with 48 senators in favor of the bill and 49 voting against.
Schumer said earlier on Tuesday that his daughter and her wife would soon have a baby, and that he hoped with passage of the bill that the child would ‘now grow up in a more accepting, inclusive and loving world’
Rubio and Lankford’s similar amendments, which only needed a simply majority, both failed. Both measures failed 45-52.
Democrats were spurred to codify marriage rights after the Supreme Court reversed five decades of precedent in overturning federal abortion protections.
In a separate but concurring opinion to the case, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health, Justice Clarence Thomas suggested that the high court could soon re-examine the cases protecting same-sex relations, marriage and contraceptive use by married couples.
‘Today we hope to do marriage equality on the floor,’ Schumer told reporters outside of the White House on Tuesday.
To mark the occasion, Schumer pointed out that he was wearing the same purple tie he wore to his daughter’s wedding to another woman in 2018.
He noted the couple would soon have a baby, and he hoped with passage of the bill ‘that child will now grow up in a more accepting, inclusive and loving world, a world that will honor their mothers’ marriage and give it the dignity it deserves.’