Updated Nov 14, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Senate tees up vote on marriage equality bill

Sens. Rob Portman and Kyrsten Sinema during a hearing in Washington, D.C.

Senator Kyrsten Sinema, a Democrat from Arizona, right, speaks with Senator Rob Portman, a Republican from Ohio, during a hearing in Washington, D.C., US, on Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2022. Photo: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Monday scheduled a Wednesday vote on a bill to codify the right to same-sex and interracial marriage after a group of senators announced a deal on changes to the legislation.

Driving the news: Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.), who's leading the effort on the Democratic side, told reporters that she believes the bill has the 60 votes needed to break a filibuster.

What they're saying: Baldwin and Sens. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) and Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) issued a statement Monday saying they reached a deal on "commonsense" changes to the bill to protects religious freedom. The changes were first reported by Axios.

  • The new language "fully respects and protects Americans’ religious liberties and diverse beliefs, while leaving intact the core mission of the legislation to protect marriage equality," the statement said.
  • "We look forward to this legislation coming to the floor and are confident that this amendment has helped earn the broad, bipartisan support needed to pass our commonsense legislation into law.”
  • Baldwin told reporters at the Capitol on Monday, "I believe we will overcome [the] filibuster."

The intrigue: While 10 Senate Republicans would need to vote with all Democrats to break a filibuster, only a handful have come out publicly in support of the bill.

  • Axios reported in September that some Republicans who vote for the bill may not reveal their intentions before they actually vote.

Flashback: Almost 50 House Republicans joined Democrats in July to pass the bill, which would enshrine marriage equality into federal law. Collins and Baldwin, co-sponsored the legislation.

The big picture: The Respect for Marriage Act is part of Democrats' response to conservative Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas' signaling that rulings on marriage equality, LGBTQ+ rights and contraception could also be reconsidered after Roe v. Wade was overturned.

More from Axios:

Editor's note: This story has been updated with new details throughout.

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