Look What The U.S. Senate Is Conveniently Delaying
(UnitedVoice.com) – In June, the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, a nearly five-decade-old right-to-privacy precedent. Justice Samuel Alito wrote the majority opinion in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case and stated the previous decision was “egregiously wrong from the start.” He wrote the decision would not “cast doubt on precedents that do not concern abortion.”
Although Alito made it clear he didn’t believe courts would reverse other rulings relying on the right-to-privacy concept, Justice Clarence Thomas wasn’t so sure. He wrote a concurring opinion stating his belief that the court should absolutely review other cases, including Obergefell v. Hodges. His assertion led to a movement by Democratic lawmakers to codify marriage equality. Now, they’ve had to push back plans to vote on a bill for several months.
Respect for Marriage Act
Weeks after the SCOTUS made Thomas’ concurring opinion public, House Democrats passed the Respect for Marriage Act in a 267-157 vote. Forty-seven Republicans joined Liberals to pass the bill. The legislation would codify the Obergefell decision by repealing the Defense of Marriage Act, making marriage equality a federal law. Federal legislation would ensure the LGBTQ+ community would still have the same right to marry as a heterosexual couple even if the court strikes down its previous precedent.
In early September, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) announced he was bringing the same-sex marriage bill to the floor for a vote. A GOP filibuster of the measure meant the Left needed 10 votes from the other side of the aisle to pass it. Democrats wanted to force Republicans to go on the record ahead of the midterm elections, essentially using the legislation as a political weapon.
Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) was working with Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) to shore up the 10 votes necessary to pass the legislation. Their efforts fell short, and they couldn’t convince enough Conservatives to throw their votes behind the Respect for Marriage Act to get it through the upper chamber.
On September 15, Collins and Baldwin, along with Senators Rob Portman (R-OH), Thom Tillis (R-NC), and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), released a statement saying they asked Schumer to give them more time to find the votes they needed to pass the measure. The bipartisan coalition of senators explained how they “crafted commonsense language that respects religious liberty and Americans’ diverse beliefs.”
Schumer agreed to give the lawmakers the time needed to get the job done. Currently, only four Republicans have publicly issued their support for the legislation. Justin Goodman, Schumer’s spokesperson, told TIME that his boss’ “main objective” is to get the marriage equality bill through the chamber, so he’s adhering to the group’s request.
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