Thirty-six Republicans on Tuesday voted against the Respect for Marriage Act, a bill that would protect same-sex and interracial marriages in the United States.
Twelve Republicans voted in favor of the bill, which passed the Senate by a vote of 61-36. Among those who backed the measure was GOP Senator Rob Portman, whose views on gay marriage changed after his son came out as gay in 2013. The bill is now one step closer to becoming law as Democrats face their final few weeks as the dominant party in the House of Representatives after Republicans secured a majority in the midterm elections this month.
The 36 Republicans who voted against the bill are: Senators John Barrasso; Marsha Blackburn; John Boozman; Mike Braun; Bill Cassidy; John Cornyn; Tom Cotton; Kevin Cramer; Mike Crapo; Ted Cruz; Steve Daines; Deb Fischer; Lindsey Graham; Chuck Grassley; Bill Hagerty; Josh Hawley; John Hoeven; Cindy Hyde-Smith; Jim Inhofe; Ron Johnson; John Neely Kennedy; James Lankford; Mike Lee; Roger Marshall; Mitch McConnell; Jerry Moran; Rand Paul; Jim Risch; Mike Rounds; Marco Rubio; Rick Scott; Tim Scott; Richard Shelby; John Thune; Tommy Tuberville; and Roger Wicker.
The bill’s advancement also came amid fears that same-sex marriages in the U.S. could be in danger after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June, rolling back federal abortion rights nearly 50 years after the landmark decision.
Conservative Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas issued a concurring opinion at the time suggesting that the court should “reconsider” several other cases, including Obergefell v. Hodges, the 2015 decision that legalized same-sex marriage nationwide.
The Respect for Marriage Act does not ensure that same-sex marriages will remain legal in all U.S. states, but it would require states that ban same-sex marriages to recognize legal same-sex marriages from other states in the event that Obergefell is overturned.
The bill also aims to protect interracial marriages by requiring states to recognize legal marriages regardless of “sex, race, ethnicity, or national origin.”
The bill now heads back to the House, where it is expected to pass swiftly. The House passed a version of the act in July, but it has since been amended to provide protections for religious liberties in order to secure support from GOP senators who may have opposed it otherwise. Twelve GOP senators joined Democrats in a 61-35 vote on Monday to invoke cloture, or end debate, in order to advance the legislation to the final vote on Tuesday.
“President Biden is calling on Congress to send the Respect for Marriage Act to his desk to secure the fundamental right of Americans to marry the person they love,” the White House tweeted on November 19.
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