Marriage Equality Bill Could Break Senate Filibuster, Lawmakers Say

Supporters of a bill to codify equality in marriage in the U.S. are optimistic that the legislation will reach the 60 votes required to avoid a filibuster.

Many Republican senators have supported the legislation. The Respect for Marriage ActA bill to repeal the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, (DOMA), which is technically still on the books, but if it were to be reinstated, it would allow conservative states the ability to discriminate against LGBTQ couples within their jurisdictions.

The bill is in response to Risen Christofascism: The Supreme CourtIt suggested that it could reverse several rights that it has recognized following its ruling that upended the in-place abortion protections. Roe v. Wade. Justice Clarence Thomas, in his concurring opinion, called for reexamining Obergefell v. HodgesA 2015 Court ruling that established federal marital rights for same-sex married couples.

The Respect for Marriage Act would also repeal DOMA. It would require states to recognize marriage rights in other states. This will ensure that same-sex marriages are still recognized in states with homophobic statutes that define marriage as between a man or a woman.

While the bill is an important measure, activists say that marriage equality alone won’t amount to true liberation for the LGBTQ community; over the past years, there have been several attacks against LGBTQ people, including legislation targeting trans kids and efforts by far right activists to falsely label gay and trans people as groomers and sexual predators.

With some bipartisan support, the House of Representatives passed the Respect for Marriage Act on Tuesday. All Democrats in the chamber voted for passage. They were joined Only 47 Republicans.

The number of Republicans who voted for the bill in its passage represents about 22.2 percent of the total GOP caucus in the House. Every Democrat plus at most 20 percent of the Republican caucus (10 Republicans) must vote to cloture any filibuster attempt by the remaining GOP members.

Republican and Democratic senators in support of the bill have said that they believe they’ll get the votes necessary to make marriage equality the law of the land, essentially codifying the Obergefell Although most GOP senators are likely to oppose the effort, it was approved.

So far at least four Republicans appear ready to support the bill. Another 16 Republicans are undecided or haven’t expressed an opinion in public statements. Eight Republicans have stated that they will vote against it.

If six of the 16 undecided Republicans say they’ll back the bill, it will likely pass and be signed into law by President Joe Biden.

Senate Republican leaders do not appear ready to make a strong case against the bill’s passage.

“If and when (Democrats) bring a bill to the floor, we’ll take a hard look at it,” Republican Senate Whip John Thune (R-South Dakota) said. “As you saw there was pretty good bipartisan support in the House yesterday and I expect there’d probably be the same thing you’d see in the Senate.”

The bill hasn’t officially been added to the Senate docket yet, although A group of senators has introduced a bill to the upper chamber this Wednesday.Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, (D-New York), has stated that he hopes to bring the bill up for a vote as soon as he gets “the necessary Senate Republican support to ensure it would pass.”