Senate Votes to Make Same-Sex Marriage Federal Law

Twelve Republicans joined all Democrats in the vote.

QUICK FACTS:
  • The Senate passed its “Respect for Marriage” act, which codifies the right to same-sex marriage, in a 61-36 vote.
  • The Senate-amended legislation will now return to the House, where it is anticipated to be swiftly passed and delivered for President Joe Biden’s signature.
  • Biden praised the bill’s bipartisanship and extended an invitation to the White House to all 11 GOP senators who supported it for the anticipated signing ceremony.
  • The bill now heads back to the House where it will likely pass the still-Democrat-controlled chamber and head to Biden’s desk before the congressional term ends.
  • Biden thanked the twelve Republicans who voted for the “bipartisan” legislation, including Roy Blunt (Missouri), Richard Burr (North Carolina), Shelley Moore Capito (West Virginia), Susan Collins (Maine), Joni Ernst (Iowa), Cynthia Lummis (Wyoming), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), Rob Portman (Ohio), Mitt Romney (Utah), Dan Sullivan (Alaska), Thom Tillis (North Carolina), and Todd Young (Indiana).
BIDEN’S STATEMENT:
  • The president made a statement about the vote saying, “With today’s bipartisan Senate passage of the Respect for Marriage Act, the United States is on the brink of reaffirming a fundamental truth: love is love, and Americans should have the right to marry the person they love.”
  • “Importantly, the Senate’s passage of the Respect for Marriage Act is a bipartisan achievement. I’m grateful to the determined Members of Congress — especially Senators Baldwin, Collins, Portman, Sinema, Tillis, and Feinstein — whose leadership has underscored that Republicans and Democrats together support the essential right of LGBTQI+ and interracial couples to marry,” Biden said in a statement sent out by the White House.
  • He finished, “I look forward to welcoming them at the White House after the House passes this legislation and sends it to my desk, where I will promptly and proudly sign it into law.” 
BACKGROUND:
  • The upper chamber of Congress was set to vote on the measure on their last legislative day before Thanksgiving, but the vote was delayed, American Faith reported.
  • At the time, Schumer said that codifying same-sex marriage would be “one of the more significant accomplishments of this Senate to date.”
  • There was no explanation as to why the vote is delayed. The bill was approved in the House with 47 Republican votes.