A highly contentious vote on a law that would make same-sex marriage legal at the federal level has been postponed until after the midterm elections in November because it is unable to secure 60 votes.
According to Politico, the bipartisan group of senators working on the Respect for Marriage Act announced their decision on Thursday. They had originally thought of voting on the bill as early as Monday of the next week, but they came to the conclusion that they wouldn’t be able to get enough Republican support to prevent a filibuster that would have killed the measure.
Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.) is the primary sponsor of the measure, while Susan Collins (R-Maine), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), and Kyrsten Sinema are the other four senators working on it (D-Ariz.). The group met with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) to formally urge him to delay the vote until after the election since the proposal as it stands right now is probably going to lose in a floor vote.
Despite the fact that we won’t be debating the measure until after the election, Baldwin remarked, “I’m still extremely confident that it will pass.” We’ll release a statement together.
The Democrats require at least 10 Republican senators, as 60 votes are required to end a potential filibuster. It has become less likely that seven more will join, notwithstanding the dedication of the three who are already working on the bill.
However, he added that “Leader Schumer will not give up and will hold the bipartisan group to their promise that the votes to pass this marriage equality legislation will be there after the election.” Justin Goodman, a spokesman for Schumer’s office, expressed his “extreme disappointment that there aren’t 10 Republicans in the Senate willing to vote yes on marriage equality legislation at this time.”
Despite the current defeat, there is an anticipation that the legislation might pass following the midterm elections in November, during the so-called “lame-duck” session of Congress, when a number of departing senators are still in office until the new members are formally sworn in January. One of these senators is Portman, and another is Roy Blunt (R-Mo. ), who claimed that he would wait until after the election “if I wanted [it] to pass and I was the majority leader and I wanted to garner as many votes as I possibly could.”
The House of Representatives approved an earlier draft of the legislation in July. The version that is currently being drafted in the Senate makes an effort to allay the concerns of conservatives over religious liberty while maintaining allowing same-sex marriage on a national level. Since the Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges in 2015, same-sex marriage has been regarded as a constitutionally protected right. Nevertheless, others think the prior ruling may soon be overturned by the court’s new 6-3 conservative majority, especially after the court overturned the important Roe v. Wade abortion decision earlier this year.