Senate Double Down On Same-Sex Marriage

Photo by MIKE STOLL on Unsplash

Senators passed legislation that gives same-sex marriage federal protections.

Tuesday’s passage of the legislation — the Respect for Marriage Act — is a historic step following months of bipartisan negotiation.

Twelve Republican Senators joined forces with all Democrats present to achieve a 61-36 vote. This ensured the bill was passed as it only required 60 votes to do it.

Following the Supreme Court overturning Roe v Wade, the focus shifted to the Supreme Court 2015 decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, as legislators believed the ruling could one day be in jeopardy.

Tuesday’s law gave same-sex marriage the same protections handed in the Obergefell v. Hodges case.

Following the passage of the legislation, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), revealed he was wearing the same tie he wore to his daughter’s wedding to her now-wife.
Schumer praised the passage of the law as a “very good day” for millions of Americans, adding that the passage of the law is a “momentous step forward for greater justice for LGBTQ Americans.”

Tuesday’s bill follows months of efforts to codify Obergefell v. Hodges that began in the summer when Associate Justice Clarence Thomas queried whether rulings giving same-sex marriage federal protections were an overreach.

The concurring opinion Thomas released alongside the overturning of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization — that overturned Roe v. Wade — ignited a Congressional effort to give same-sex marriage federal protections.

The first victory in this effort was 47 House Republicans joining Democrats to pass the bill through the lower chamber. But when Senate-side Democrats attempted to do the same in the Senate before the midterms, they were short the ten votes they needed from Republicans to win.

That changed on Tuesday when they could get 12 Republican votes following an amendment to the bill that offered some protections to religious organizations that refused services to same-sex couples.