WASHINGTON ( Associated Press) — Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on Wednesday announced a renewed push to protect gay marriage in federal law after a surprising number of House Republicans helped pass landmark legislation in that chamber. . Some GOP senators are already showing signs of support.
After a court overturned abortion access in Rowe v. Wade, the law began as an election-season political attempt to face a new Supreme Court majority, raising concerns that other rights were at risk. But suddenly he gets a chance to become a law. Republicans are under increasing pressure to drop their longstanding opposition and join a bipartisan moment for gay rights.
“This legislation was so important,” Schumer said Wednesday while opening the Senate.
The Democratic leader surprised at the 267-157 tally with 47 Republicans in the House — nearly a fifth of GOP lawmakers — voting for the bill late Tuesday.
“I want to get this bill on the floor,” Schumer said, “and we’re working to get the Senate Republican support needed to pass it.”
The political barriers to the law are still long, with the Respect for Marriage Act, which would protect same-sex and interracial marriages under federal law. Conservatives, including House GOP leaders, largely opposed the bill, and the vast majority of Republicans voted against it.
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But in a sign of a change in political stance and the need to win an election year, some Republicans are indicating that an opening may be taking place. During a floor debate in the House on Tuesday, some Republicans spoke out directly against gay marriage. And Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell was particularly silent when asked about the bill, saying he’ll look into it if it comes to the Senate.
“I’m going to delay announcing anything on that issue,” McConnell said, adding that he will wait to see if Schumer brings it forward.
So far, there are just two Senate Republican co-sponsors in law, Susan Collins of Maine and Rob Portman of Ohio. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Thom Tillis of North Carolina are being closely watched for potential support.
All 10 Republican senators would need to join with all Democrats to reach the 60 vote threshold to pass the GOP filebuster.
“We’re seeing progress on this, and I will make progress,” Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., the bill’s main sponsor, told reporters at the Capitol.
2 Republican, Sen. John Thune of South Dakota, was skeptical Tuesday, describing the proposed legislation as little more than a political message.
Social issues, including gay marriage and abortion, have risen to the top of Congress’s agenda this summer, in response to the Supreme Court action in Roe v. Wade was reversed, a surprise decision that ended the nearly 50-year-old constitutional right to abortion access. , It set off alarms that other Right conservatives have targeted may be next.
While Justice Samuel Alito, writing for the majority, Roe v. Wade’s ruling, which pertained only to abortion access, it demonstrated new conservative muscle, striking the court’s balance with three Trump-era justices. An opinion by Justice Clarence Thomas, who has gained stature in the new majority, raised questions about same-sex marriage and other rights.
“We take Justice Thomas – and the extremist movement behind him – in his words,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi said during the House debate. “This is what they intend to do.”
Both Pelosi and Schumer criticized Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, who said over the weekend that the Supreme Court’s 2015 decision of Obergfels v. Hodges upholding same-sex marriage was “clearly wrong.”
The Respect for Marriage Act was taken to the floor of the House in an election year in which most Americans, regardless of gender, sex, race or ethnicity, showed favor to preserve the rights of marriage, in modern customs. A long lasting shift towards inclusion.
A Gallup poll in June showed widespread and growing support for same-sex marriage, with 7 percent of American adults saying they think such unions should be recognized by law. Polls showed majority support among both Democrats (83 percent) and Republicans (55 percent).
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According to Gallup, acceptance of interracial marriage in the US reached a six-decade high of 94 percent in September.
McConnell, the Republican leader eager to regain control of the Senate, is now evenly split 50-50, and his views are almost certainly on whether his party should support or oppose same-sex marriage protections. viewed through that political lens.
Incumbent Republican senators seeking to win re-election and GOP candidates running for office may have a chance to support the issue of gay marriage that is popular with many voters. The strong Republican-led opposition in the swing could be seen as detrimental to the party’s candidates that McConnell needed to win to regain control.
Joe O’Dea, a Republican optimist who is challenging incumbent Democratic Sen. Michael Bennett in Colorado, said he was pleased to see the same-sex marriage bill pass in the House.
“You’ve got a lot of politicians in both the political parties who spend too much time telling people how to live their lives. It’s not just me. I live my life. You live yours.” Dia said. “Let’s move forward to solve the great challenges facing the American people.”
Still, some outspoken leaders in the Republican Party, including Cruz and Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley, both potential presidential candidates, have indicated possible opposition to the law.
The Respect for Marriage Act would repeal the Clinton-era Defense Act, which placed the definition of marriage as a heterosexual union between a man and a woman in federal law. That 1996 law was largely superseded by subsequent court decisions, including Obergefels v. Hodges in 2015, legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide.
Associated Press writers Farnoush Amiri and Marie Claire Jalonik and Nicolas Riccardi in Denver contributed to this report.