A bipartisan group of U.S. Senators voted 62-37 for cloturethe end of debatefor the Respect for Marriage Act (RMA), signaling passage in the near future for the measure that enshrines marriage equality into federal law.
The final vote on the Senate floor will take place after Thanksgiving, according to reports. The RMA overturns the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act and offers protections for LGBTQ+ Americans should the Supreme Court overturn its marriage equality decisions, returning those rules to the states, as the Court did with reproductive rights via its Hobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization decision.
"The importance of this vote cannot be overstated it is in some part proactive defensive legislation of the conservative majority of the Supreme Court's clear threats against marriage for same-sex couples," said Kierra Johnson, executive director of the National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund. "We support the RMAa bipartisan compromise because it would protect millions of same-sex and interracial couples by ensuring their marriages be respected by federal and state governments. It would remove the discriminatory federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) off the books and replace disrespect with respect. The RMA and our families enjoy strong interfaith support, and it is worth noting that this bill would not change existing constitutional religious freedoms.
"Majority Leader Senator Charles Schumer has been strongly advocating for this bill, talking openly about his own daughter and her wife, and their need for these protections. In her opening statement, Sen. Tammy Baldwin (a lesbian) recognized Sen. Feinstein, the leader on bill, and work of Sen. Collins, Sen. Portman, Sen. Sinema (a bisexual woman) and Sen. Tillis for their steadfast commitment to preparing the RMA for this week's historic votes, which we hope will lead to final passage."
GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said in a Twitter message: "As extremist politicians push anti-LGBTQ playbooks on the state level and right-wing U.S. Supreme Court justices overturn other legal precedent, the bipartisan Respect for Marriage Act is an opportunity for our leaders to come together to send a message of equal treatment for everyone. All married couples, including same-sex and interracial couples, are worthy of dignity, respect, and equal protection under the law."
HRC Incoming President Kelley Robinson said: "The devastating United States Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade was a clear reminder that we are just one Supreme Court decision away from losing too many of our hard fought for rights. In the concurring opinion, Justice Thomas made the outrageous suggestion that Lawrence v. Texas and Obergefell v. Hodges should be next to be challenged. It is clear there is an urgent, dire need to ensure, once and for all, that the days of debate around marriage equality are over. The will of the people is on our side.
"568,000 same-sex, married couples across America rely upon the decisions in Windsor v. United States and Obergefell v. Hodges, and they deserve to know that the federal government has no intention of going back to the dark days of DOMA. The Respect for Marriage Act is an essential piece of legislation that affirms that every marriage, and every family, is valid and beautiful. Today's strong bipartisan vote of 62-37 for cloture is an incredible victory that cannot be taken lightlythis vote was the bill's biggest procedural roadblock, and now we steer our focus forward to the Senate's final vote on this historic legislation. Our work is not done."