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Bill protecting same-sex, interracial marriage gains GOP support in Senate

by Nate Morris
gay marriage
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A bill codifying protections for interracial and same-sex marriage is gaining some support among Republicans in the US Senate. The “Respect for Marriage Act” (RFMA) passed the House earlier this week. The bill garnered the support of all Democrats and 47 Republicans. If passed by the Senate, the bill would repeal the “Defense of Marriage Act” and enshrine the Loving v Virginia and Obergefell v Hodges Supreme Court decisions legalizing interracial and same-sex marriage into federal law.

The push to pass RFMA comes amid growing fallout from the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v Wade.  In his majority opinion, Justice Clarence Thomas called for the Court to re-evaluate other cases, including Obergefell.  As recently as last week, Texas Senator Ted Cruz argued that same-sex marriage should be “left up to the states”.

“I think that decision was clearly wrong when it was decided,” Cruz said regarding Obergefell. “It was the court overreaching.”

Some GOP Senators signaling support for marriage bill after bi-partisan vote in the House

According to CNN, Cruz is one of eight Senators who has said they will vote NO on the Respect for Marriage Act. Senators Cassidy, Cornyn, Graham, Hawley, Inhofe, Rubio and Wicker are joining in opposition.

Senator Cassidy (LA) called it “a silly messaging bill”, while Senator Rubio (FL) said it’s a “stupid waste of time”.

Some members of the Republican Party are splitting from their farther-right colleagues to signal support. Senators Collins, Murkowski, Portman and Tillis have all said they are likely to vote YES on the measure.

With four Republicans signaling support and all 50 Democrats likely to vote in favor of the Respect for Marriage Act, the bill appears to have a chance in the hyper-partisan and divided Senate.

According to CNN, at least 16 Republicans state they are uncertain how they will vote on the legislation. Another 22 Senators have not yet responded to the network’s request for comment.

The Respect for Marriage Act requires 60 votes to overcome a filibuster and pass the Senate; just six additional Republican votes.

“You look at the shifting sentiment about this issue throughout the country,” Republican Senator Rob Portman, a supporter of the legislation, told The Hill. “I think this is an issue that many Americans regardless of political affiliation feel has been resolved.”

“My own personal views on this haven’t changed from a several years ago when I said people ought to have the opportunity to marry who they want,” he continued. “I think its time has come.”

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