Marriage Respect Bill Passes Senate, Advances to House – Boston News, Weather, Sports

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate on Tuesday passed bipartisan legislation protecting same-sex marriages, an extraordinary sign of a shift in national policy on the issue and a measure of relief for the hundreds of thousands of same-sex couples who have married since the Supreme Court took office in 2015 gay marriage was legalized nationwide.

The bill, which would ensure same-sex and interracial marriages are enshrined in federal law, passed Tuesday by a 61-36 vote, including support from 12 Republicans. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said the legislation was “a long time coming” and is part of America’s “difficult but unstoppable march toward greater equality.”

The Democrats are moving fast while the party still holds a majority in both houses of Congress. The bill now goes to the House of Representatives for a final vote.

President Joe Biden praised the bipartisan vote and said he will sign the bill “immediately and proudly” if it passes the House of Representatives. He said it will ensure LGBTQ youth “grow up knowing that they, too, can live full, happy lives and have families of their own.”

The bill has steadily gained momentum since then The Supreme Court’s June decision overturning federal abortion rights, a ruling that included a concurring opinion from Justice Clarence Thomas, who indicated same-sex marriages could also be at risk. The bipartisan Senate negotiations began this summer when 47 Republicans unexpectedly voted in favor of a House bill and gave the supporters renewed optimism.

The legislation would not force any state to allow same-sex couples to marry. But it would require states to recognize all marriages that were legal where they were contracted and to protect current same-sex partnerships if the 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges would be rescinded. It’s a stunning bipartisan affirmation and a testament to societal change after years of bitter division on the issue.

A new law protecting same-sex marriages would also be a major victory for Democrats as they relinquish their two-year consolidated power in Washington, and a massive win for proponents who have been pushing for federal laws for decades. It comes as the LGBTQ community has faced violent attacks such as Filming at a gay nightclub in Colorado last weekend Five people were killed and at least 17 injured.

“Our community really needs a win, we’ve been through a lot,” said Kelley Robinson, the new president of the Human Rights Campaign, which works on LGBTQ issues. “As a queer person who’s married, I feel relieved right now. I know my family is safe.”

Robinson was in the Senate chamber for the vote with her wife, Becky, and their young son. “It was more emotional than I expected,” she said.

The vote was also personal for many senators. Wisconsin Senator Tammy Baldwin, a Democrat who was the first openly gay senator and the bill’s main sponsor, tearfully hugged Schumer and others as the final vote was called. Baldwin, who has worked on gay rights issues for nearly four decades, took to Twitter to thank the same-sex and interracial couples she said made this moment possible.

“By living as your true self, you changed the hearts and minds of those around you,” she wrote.

Schumer said Tuesday that wearing the tie he wore to his daughter’s wedding was “one of the happiest moments of my life.” He also recalled the “harrowing conversation” he had with his daughter and her wife in September 2020 when they heard that Liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had passed away. “Could our right to marry be revoked?” they asked at the time.

With Conservative Justice Amy Coney Barrett replacing Ginsburg, the court has now ruled Roe v. Wade and federal abortion rights were overturned and concerns raised over Obergefell and other court-protected rights. But sentiment regarding same-sex marriage has changed, with more than two-thirds of the public now supporting it.

Still, Schumer said it was remarkable that the Senate even held the debate after years of Republican opposition. “A decade ago it would have stretched all our imaginations to imagine both sides talking about protecting the rights of same-sex couples,” he said.

The passage came after the Senate rejected three Republican amendments to protect the rights of religious institutions and others still opposed to such marriages. Supporters of the law argued that these changes were unnecessary as the bill had already been amended to clarify that it would not affect any individual or business rights currently enshrined in law. The bill would also clarify that marriage is between two people, an attempt to deflect some far-right criticism that the legislation may support polygamy.

Republican Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina, who has campaigned for his fellow GOP senators for months to support the legislation, pointed to the number of religious groups supporting the lawincluding The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Some of these groups were part of the bipartisan change negotiations.

“They see this as a step forward for freedom of religion,” says Tillis.

The nearly 17-million-member Utah denomination said in a statement this month that church doctrine continues to view same-sex relationships as contrary to God’s commandments.

Most Republicans still oppose the law because they believe it is unnecessary, citing concerns about religious freedom. And some conservative groups have been ramping up opposition in recent weeks, urging Republican supporters to change their votes.

“Marriage is the exclusive, lifelong, conjugal union between a man and a woman, and any deviation from that concept undermines the indispensable goal of having every child raised in a stable home by the mother and father who fathered it.” , said Roger of the Heritage Foundation Severino, vice president for domestic affairs, argued against the bill in a recent blog post.

In an effort to win the 10 Republican votes needed to overcome a filibuster in the 50-50 Senate, Democrats late consideration until after midterm electionsin hopes that it would ease political pressure on GOP senators who may vacillate.

Eventual support from 12 Republicans gave Democrats the votes they needed.

Along with Tillis, Maine Sen. Susan Collins and Ohio Sen. Rob Portman were early supporters of the bill and have lobbied their GOP peers to support it. Also voting in favor of the legislation were Republican Sens. Richard Burr of North Carolina, Todd Young of Indiana, Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, Mitt Romney of Utah, Joni Ernst of Iowa, Roy Blunt of Missouri, Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming and Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan from Alaska.

Shortly before the passage, Collins thanked her Republican compatriots who supported her. “I know it wasn’t easy, but they did the right thing,” Collins said.

Lummis, one of the more conservative members of the Senate, spoke before the final vote about her “rather brutal search for her own soul” before backing the bill. She said she accepts her church’s beliefs that marriage is between a man and a woman, but noted that the country is founded on the separation of church and state.

“We do well to take that step and not accept or validate each other’s pious views, but just tolerate them,” Lummis said.

Baldwin said earlier this month that many Republicans’ newfound openness on the issue “reminds them first of all of the arc of the LBGTQ movement, in the early days when people weren’t out there and people knew gay people through myths and stereotypes “.

“And slowly laws followed,” she said. “It’s history.”

(Copyright (c) 2022 Sunbeam Television. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, transcribed or redistributed.)

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Sarah Y. Kim

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