WASHINGTON — The Senate is scheduled to vote Tuesday afternoon on legislation to codify federal protections for same-sex and interracial marriages.
Unless some Republican supporters of the bill change their minds, the Law of Respect for Marriage It is expected to pass, a day after it cleared another procedural hurdle by a vote of 61-35, receiving unanimous support from Senate Democrats and 12 votes from the GOP, enough to break a filibuster.
“I hope we can get this done quickly because millions of Americans deserve the same fairness under the law and the peace of mind that comes from knowing that their right to marry the one they love is protected,” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D.N.Y. he said Monday.
Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., author of the bill, recently reviewed to win Republican votes by adding language clarifying that religious organizations will not be required to perform same-sex marriages and making it clear that the federal government is not required to protect polygamous marriages.
If approved, the bill would return to the House for a final vote before it can go to President Joe Biden, who is expected to sign it into law.
The bill came after the conservative Supreme Court struck down the constitutional right to abortion, raising fears that justices may also review their liberal precedents enshrining marriage rights for gay and interracial couples.
The legislation would require the federal government to recognize marriages that were valid in a state when they were performed. It would also ensure all benefits for marriages “regardless of the couple’s sex, race, ethnicity or national origin,” but the bill would not require a state to issue a marriage license contrary to state law.
Schumer kept a lengthy procedural vote open Monday as Democrats sought to reach an agreement with Republican senators who threatened to drag out the process unless they received votes on the amendments. The chamber prepared three votes on Tuesday afternoon: a for Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, at a 60-vote threshold, and two each for Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., and Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., both of whom will need only a simple majority to pass.
The bill would then go to a final vote later Tuesday, requiring the approval of 60 senators.
Most Republicans are expected to oppose the legislation, but Monday’s procedural vote suggests the bill will have enough Republican support to pass. Proponents want to pass it in lame duck session before Republicans take control of the House on January 3.
frank thorp contributed.