A bill codifying a right to same-sex marriage into federal law has rehashed a passionate debate in American politics and civil society as a final vote in the U.S. Senate looms.
The Senate voted 61-35 on Monday to end debate on the Respect for Marriage Act, with a vote on three religious freedom amendments possibly coming Tuesday afternoon and a vote on final passage expected soon after.
Twelve Republicans joined a unanimous Democratic caucus in supporting the measure: Sens. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., Richard Burr, R-N.C., Susan Collins, R-Maine, Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyo., Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, Rob Portman, R-Ohio, Mitt Romney, R-Utah, Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, Thom Tillis, R-N.C., and Todd Young, R-Ind.
The Democrat-controlled House previously approved the bill in a 267-157 vote on July 19, picking up support from 47 Republicans. If passed in the Senate, the bill will have to go back to the House for another vote to approve the Senate version, which differs slightly from the House version.
Supporters tout the bill as necessary to ensure that the right to same-sex marriage established by the 2015 U.S. Supreme Court case Obergefell v. Hodges remains intact amid concerns that the justices will revisit the decision following their ruling in June overturning the right to abortion established in the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision.
Opponents of the legislation contend that it carries implications for religious liberty, especially the conscience rights of Christian business owners with deeply held beliefs that marriage constitutes a sacrament between a man and a woman.
The legislation will require 60 votes for passage, meaning that if all 50 Democrats support it, it needs to secure votes from at least 10 Republican senators.
The following pages highlight four things to know about the Respect for Marriage Act and the proposed amendments.
Ryan Foley is a reporter for The Christian Post. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org