“A vote on marriage equality will happen on the Senate floor in the coming weeks,” Schumer told reporters, according to Politico.
Schumer’s remarks come after some Senate Democrats suggested weaving in same-sex marriage language into a federal spending package using the Respect for Marriage Act that the House of Representatives passed, 267-157, last month, with 47 of those votes in favor of the bill coming from House Republicans. However, that narrative has seemingly switched back to issuing a standalone vote for now.
Now, Senate Democrats are working to garner ten GOP votes — enough to clear the 60-vote filibuster threshold — to move it out off the Senate floor and onto President Joe Biden’s desk, who signaled he would sign the legislation.
So far, three Senate Republicans, including Susan Collins (R-ME), Rob Portman (R-OH), and Thom Tillis (R-NC) have previously told reporters they would likely vote yes on the bill. Nine others have marked themselves as potential backers, according to The Hill.
Collins has teamed up with Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) to sway enough votes from across the aisle, but has received pushback from Senate Republicans, citing religious liberty and conscience protection concerns.
“We are listening carefully to the concerns that have been raised by some of our colleagues,” Collins told Politico. “And we’re looking at an amendment that would strengthen the language in the bill to make crystal clear that it does not in any way infringe upon religious liberty. And it also would correct a drafting error.”
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) said he would vote against the bill, with concerns about religious liberties, adding that it would create more chaos for the court to disrupt same-sex marriages.
“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 service organizations, churches, and strip them all of their tax-exempt status,” Cruz said on an episode of his podcast “The Verdict,” according to The Texas Tribune.
Cruz further noted that GOP members are pushing for an amendment to the bill that would ensure such protections.
Heritage Foundation research assistant Jared Eckert told The Daily Signal Podast last month that the House passed the bill as an overreaction to the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade.
Eckert argues that lawmakers passed the bill out of fear that same-sex marriage and interracial marriage are under attack, neither of which he said face any threat. However, he noted enshrining the bill into law could create unintended consequences that state and federal governments would have to accept.
“If one state — just one state — recognizes polygamy as a legitimate marriage or legal marriage, then basically, the federal government has to do that,” Eckert says.
Eckert’s comments follow an explanation of the Obergfell v. Hodges case, which allowed states to redefine the federal government’s traditional definition of marriage, adding that the point of federal law supporting holy matrimony was because it served as an interest for the welfare of American civilization.
But if the bill passes, Eckert said it would “create a ton of problems,” similar to the concerns of Cruz and other lawmakers who are holding onto the sanctity of the God-given union between one man and one woman.