Senate delays vote to codify gay marriage nationwide

Republicans and Democrats have cut a deal to delay a Senate vote on a bill that would make gay marriage the law of the land.

Advocates of the so-called Respect for Marriage Act say it is more likely to clear the Senate once the midterm elections are over, the Hill reported.

Gay marriage bill delayed

Although once the subject of heated debate, gay marriage has become more popular in the years since the Supreme Court unilaterally established that gay marriage is a fundamental right in the 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges decision.

In a sign of how attitudes have changed, the Respect for Marriage Act passed the House with support from 47 Republicans. The bill has also won support from Republican senators including Rob Portman (Oh.) and Roy Blunt (Mo.), who are both retiring.

Democrats introduced the bill as part of a messaging blitz surrounding civil rights after the Supreme Court repealed Roe V. Wade in June. The decision enraged the left and sparked a backlash that Democrats hope will protect their narrow congressional majorities.

While their rhetoric has focused on abortion, Dems have also cited comments from Justice Clarence Thomas to argue that Republicans will target gay marriage and contraception if they take power in November.

Blunt advised Democrats that Republicans would be more supportive of the gay marriage bill once the election is over, saying, “They’ll get more votes in November and December than they get on Monday.”

Partisan exercise?

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham (R-Sc.) is among those who say the Respect for Marriage Act is little more than a political exercise, given the slim odds of Obergefell being overturned.

“The court decision stands,” Graham said. “I think this is all politics.”

Republican supporters of the gay marriage bill, which would force every state in the country to recognize same-sex marriages, say they are working to craft protections for “religious liberty.” The bill’s advocates say they are confident it will eventually get enough Republican votes to pass a filibuster.

But Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-Ny.) scolded Republicans for the delay, which appears to deprive Dems of a political opportunity to paint Republicans as radical and out-of-touch before the midterms.

“Leader Schumer is extremely disappointed that there aren’t 10 Republicans in the Senate willing to vote yes on marriage equality legislation at this time,” his office said.