NATIONAL NEWS

Same-sex marriage legislation clears key Senate hurdle

Nov 16, 2022, 2:33 PM
Reporters speak with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) as he walks through the U.S. Capit...
Reporters speak with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) as he walks through the U.S. Capitol on November 16, 2022 in Washington, DC. On Wednesday morning, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) overcame a challenge from Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) and was re-elected as the Leader for the new Congress. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images).
(Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Legislation to protect same-sex and interracial marriages crossed a major Senate hurdle Wednesday, putting Congress on track to take the historic step of ensuring that such unions are enshrined in federal law.

Twelve Republicans voted with all Democrats to move forward on the legislation, meaning a final vote could come as soon as this week, or later this month. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said the bill ensuring the unions are legally recognized under the law is chance for the Senate to “live up to its highest ideals” and protect marriage equality for all people.

“It will make our country a better, fairer place to live,” Schumer said, noting that his own daughter and her wife are expecting a baby next year.

Senate Democrats are quickly moving to pass the bill while the party still controls the House. Republicans are on the verge of winning the House majority and would be unlikely to take up the issue next year.

The bill has gained steady momentum since the Supreme Court’s June decision that overturned Roe v. Wade and the federal right to an abortion. An opinion at that time from Justice Clarence Thomas suggested that an earlier high court decision protecting same-sex marriage could also come under threat.

The legislation would repeal the Clinton-era Defense of Marriage Act and require states to recognize all marriages that were legal where they were performed. The new Respect for Marriage Act would also protect interracial marriages by requiring states to recognize legal marriages regardless of “sex, race, ethnicity, or national origin.”

Congress has been moving to protect same-sex marriage as support from the general public — and from Republicans in particular — has sharply grown in recent years, as the Supreme Court’s 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges decision legalized gay marriage nationwide. Recent polling has found more than two-thirds of the public supports same-sex unions.

Still, many Republicans in Congress have been reluctant to support the legislation. Democrats delayed consideration until after the midterm elections, hoping that would relieve political pressure on some GOP senators who might be wavering.

A proposed amendment to the bill, negotiated by supporters to bring more Republicans on board, would clarify that it does not affect rights of private individuals or businesses that are already enshrined in law. Another tweak would make clear that a marriage is between two people, an effort to ward off some far-right criticism that the legislation could endorse polygamy.

Three Republicans said early on that they would support the legislation and have lobbied their GOP colleagues to support it: Maine Sen. Susan Collins, North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis and Ohio Sen. Rob Portman.

“Current federal law doesn’t reflect the will or beliefs of the American people in this regard,” Portman said ahead of the vote. “It’s time for the Senate to settle the issue.”

The growing GOP support for the issue is a sharp contrast from even a decade ago, when many Republicans vocally opposed same-sex marriages. The legislation passed the House in a July vote with the support of 47 Republicans — a larger-than-expected number that gave the measure a boost in the Senate.

On Tuesday, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints became the most recent conservative-leaning group to back the legislation. In a statement, the Utah-based faith said church doctrine would continue to consider same-sex relationships to be against God’s commandments, but it would support rights for same-sex couples as long as they didn’t infringe upon religious groups’ right to believe as they choose.

Wisconsin Sen. Tammy Baldwin, a Democrat who is the first openly gay senator and has been working on gay rights issues for almost four decades, said the newfound openness from many Republicans on the subject reminds her “of the arc of the LBGTQ movement to begin with, in the early days when people weren’t out and people knew gay people by myths and stereotypes.”

Baldwin said that as more individuals and families have become visible, hearts and minds have changed.

“And slowly laws have followed,” she said. “It is history.”

Schumer said the issue is personal to him, as well.

“Passing the Respect for Marriage Act is as personal as it gets for many senators and their staffs, myself included,” Schumer said. “My daughter and her wife are actually expecting a little baby in February. So it matters a lot to so many of us to get this done.”

___

Associated Press writer Sam Metz in Salt Lake City contributed to this report.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

National News

Kari Lake on podium at election night event....
JONATHAN J. COOPER Associated Press

Lake seeks election records in suit against Arizona county

Kari Lake, the defeated Republican candidate for Arizona governor, has filed a public records lawsuit demanding Maricopa County hand over a variety of documents related to the election. Lake has refused to acknowledge that she lost to Democrat Katie Hobbs and has for weeks drawn attention to voters who said they experienced long lines and difficulties while voting on Election Day in Arizona's largest county. Her lawyer, Tim LaSota, says in the suit filed Wednesday that the county has not fulfilled public records requests filed on Nov. 15 and 16. The requests seek to identify voters who may have had trouble casting a ballot.
12 hours ago
A view of the Canadian flag during day one of the Platinum Jubilee Royal Tour of Canada on May 17, ...
Associated Press

Canada paramedic unknowingly treated daughter in fatal crash

 A Canadian paramedic who unknowingly treated her own daughter after a fatal crash brushed away tears as she remembered a beautiful girl who fought until the end. Jayme Erickson was called to the crash north of Calgary on Nov. 15 and sat with a seriously injured girl who was was extricated from the vehicle and taken to hospital, where she died. It wasn't until Erickson got home at the end of the day that she was met by Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers, who told her the patient was her 17-year-old daughter, Montana.
12 hours ago
Bodycam video released by authorities shows the good Samaritan trying to help the man on the tracks...
Tavleen Tarrant, CNN

Good Samaritan, NYPD officers rescue man from subway tracks moments before train arrives

A good Samaritan, who was at the right place at the right time, and a team of New York City officers who rushed on scene rescued a man who fell on the subway tracks just seconds before an incoming train arrived, police said.
2 days ago
"White Christmas" is a movie that has a lot of behind-the-scenes lore. (Paramount/Kobal/Shutterstoc...
AJ Willingham, CNN

The secrets behind your favorite Christmas movie classics

Watching Christmas movies is a whole tradition unto itself. Get to know some of the fascinating stories behind the stories so you can watch your old favorites with fresh eyes.
2 days ago
A memorial is seen at the site of a fatal shooting in a Walmart on November 23, 2022 in Chesapeake,...
Ben Finley and and Matthew Barakat, Associated Press

Walmart shooter left ‘death note,’ bought gun day of killing

Authorities investigating the fatal shootings of six people at a Walmart said that the shooter bought the gun just hours before and left a note with grievances against coworkers on his phone.
2 days ago
A Ford sign sits outside of a dealership on January 25, 2022 in Chicago, Illinois. Ford Motor Co. a...
Associated Press

Ford recalls over 634K SUVs due to fuel leaks and fire risk

Ford is recalling over 634,000 SUVs worldwide because a cracked fuel injector can spill fuel or leak vapors onto a hot engine and cause fires.
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 reasons you may want to consider apartment life over owning a home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to choose what MBA program is right for you: Take this quiz before you apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Diverse Group of Energetic Professionals Team Meeting in Modern Office: Brainstorming IT Programmer...
Les Olson

Don’t let a ransomware attack get you down | Protect your workplace today with cyber insurance

Business owners and operators should be on guard to protect their workplace. Cyber insurance can protect you from online attacks.
Hand turning a thermostat knob to increase savings by decreasing energy consumption. Composite imag...
Lighting Design

5 Lighting Tips to Save Energy and Money in Your Home

Advances in lighting technology make it easier to use smart features to cut costs. Read for tips to save energy by using different lighting strategies in your home.
Portrait of smiling practitioner with multi-ethnic senior people...
Summit Vista

How retirement communities help with healthy aging

There are many benefits that retirement communities contribute to healthy aging. Learn more about how it can enhance your life, or the life of your loved ones.
Same-sex marriage legislation clears key Senate hurdle