Nov 29, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Senate sets final same-sex marriage vote for Tuesday

Sen. Tammy Baldwin, wearing a black puffy jacket with a blue lining over a dark blue blazer and white shirt, walks into the capitol in front of Sen. John Hickenlooper.

Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.). Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images.

Senators on Monday reached an agreement to speed up passage of legislation to codify the right to gay and interracial marriage, setting up a final vote on Tuesday.

Why it matters: The vote on the Respect for Marriage Act is the result of months of bipartisan negotiation and puts the landmark bill one step closer to being signed into law.

Driving the news: Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced on the Senate floor that the final vote on the bill will be at 3:45 pm ET on Tuesday.

  • The bill was fast-tracked by an agreement to allow votes on amendments from Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah), James Lankford (R-Ind.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) aimed at protecting religious freedom.
  • Monday's vote was held open for several hours as three GOP senators who have supported the bill – Sens. Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), Todd Young (R-Ind.) and Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) – withheld their pivotal votes until a deal was reached.
  • The three senators, who all represent heavily Republican states, have been the subject of some of the most intense lobbying by conservative activists.

What they're saying: Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), one of the few Republicans who have been backing the bill from the beginning, told Axios he, too, has heard from constituents and activists in recent days voicing concerns about the bill.

  • "There's so much out there now. A lot of people are confused," he said, "I've had some friends call me up, express a concern."
  • But, he added, "I've had an equal number or greater number expressing support."
  • Supporters of the bill include many religious groups, including The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and a network of Orthodox Jewish groups.

What we're watching: Whether GOP support for the bill grows, as some aides predict it will. Some Senate Republicans who opposed the bill on previous votes told Axios the success of the amendments would be necessary – if not sufficient – for them to support the bill.

  • Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) dismissed as "hypothetical" the question of whether he would support an amended bill, predicting Democrats are "not going to accept [the amendments]." In that case, he added, "I'm going to vote no."
  • Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.) said he supports amendments and, asked if he would vote for the bill, said: "Not without that."

What's next: If the bill passes the Senate on Tuesday, it will go to another vote in the House – where it's expected to pass easily – before being signed into law by President Biden.

  • "We must be prepared to take another vote on that historic bill to send it to the White House," House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) wrote in a letter to colleagues on Sunday.
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