“We have the votes,” say Senate Democrats, about legislation to protect same-sex and interracial marriage in federal law.
When the Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade this June, the ruling set some unnerving precedents. There is no law in this country protecting same-sex marriage, just as there was no law protecting the rights of bodily autonomy – only the surprisingly unreliable interpretation of the judicial body. And the same justices who voted to remove rights from people who could become pregnant are openly discussing walking back Obergefell v. Hodges.
Since July, a group of senators from both sides of the aisle have been working on a marriage equality bill to protect both same-sex and interracial relationships, sheltering those rights from Supreme Court upsets. Related legislation passed in the House in July, but it stalled in the Senate at that time, with Republican opposition pounding the religious liberty drum. Other right-wing Senators pulled their support for the same-sex marriage bill in protest over a Democrat-led tax and climate change bill.
But then midterm elections happened. For the next two years, Democrats are holding the majority in the Senate. With their own bills in mind, some Republicans are coming back to the table to cooperate.
On Monday, Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis) who is the lead Democrat on the Senate marriage protection bill put out an optimistic tweet:
“The Respect for Marriage Act will protect marriage equality and ensure individuals in same-sex and interracial marriages are guaranteed the same rights & freedoms as every other marriage.
“We are going to get this done for loving families across America,” she wrote.
All fifty Democratic senators have said they would vote in support to codify marriage equality. It needs at least ten Republicans to support it in order to overcome any filibuster, three have publicly committed, and more appear to have done so behind the scenes.
“We have the votes,” confirmed a source involved in the negotiations.