The Senate is likely to delay a vote on the Respect for Marriage Act until September, according to out Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI).
The Respect for Marriage Act would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act, recognize interracial and same-sex marriages performed by states, and require states to recognize marriages performed in other states. While it passed the House of Representatives quickly in a 267-157 vote with all Democrats voting for it and most Republicans voting against it, other legislation that Democrats want passed before the August recess is taking precedence.
Ten Republican senators have to support the Respect for Marriage Act for it to pass. Five have come out in favor of the bill and at least five others have said that they are leaning towards voting for it, out Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) said in a recent interview.
“There are five Republicans who have publicly stated that they will support the Respect for Marriage Act, and I have spoken with an additional — well, additional many, but five additional members have indicated they are leaning in support, but I think because of how crowded the calendar is for next week, which is our last week before the August recess, and in light of the fact that we can’t have any absences, we need everybody there, and we have a few members with COVID, this is probably going to be a vote that occurs, what I would hope would be early September,” Baldwin told PBS Wisconsin.
When asked about how polling is generally favorable to marriage equality – 71% of Americans and 55% of Republicans are in favor of it now, according to a recent Gallup poll – Baldwin pointed out that the issue in the Senate is just the Republican party.
“The Congress of the United States, sadly, has often followed public opinion rather than led public opinion, and I am still very hopeful that we will have — in fact, I believe we do have the ten votes necessary to avoid a filibuster, but, yeah, it is something where I have — in the arena of civil rights, the U.S. public is often ahead of their elected representatives, and that’s too bad. There’s also, you know, sadly, a very strong difference between the parties,” she said. “Every Democrat in the U.S. Senate supports the Respect for Marriage Act, and I don’t think this should be an issue that is reflective of a partisan divide, but it seems it still is.”
Last week, Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) said that while she’s a cosponsor of the Respect for Marriage Act, she thought that the Inflation Reduction Act that the Senate is currently working on will make it more difficult to pass the marriage bill.
“After we just had worked together successfully on gun safety legislation, on the CHIPs bill, it was a very unfortunate move that destroys the many bipartisan efforts that are under way,” she said. “I just think the timing could not have been worse and it came totally out of the blue.”
An unnamed source told Reuters that supporters worry that Republican opponents of the bill will use the August recess to pressure some of the senators who may support it to oppose it.