The Senate passed the Respect for Marriage Act (RMA) last week by a 61-35 vote. It guarantees recognition of same-sex marriage under federal law. The House is expected to approve the Senate version.
Under an amendment backed by the Mormon church, the RMA guaranteed that faith-based groups wouldn't lose their tax-exempt status or risk federal grant money because of their objections to same-sex marriages, ABC News reported.
In exchange, the church publicly endorsed the proposal as one that protects "religious freedom," paving the way for a dozen Senate Republicans to back it.
According to ABC News, "the bill is narrow in scope, disappointing many progressives. It wouldn't force states to issue same-sex marriage licenses, for example, as is required now under the Obergefell ruling."
The bill also doesn't say whether businesses or faith-based organization can deny working with same-sex couples, citing either freedom of religion or speech. Such a case is being considered this week in the Supreme Court.
The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 62% of likely U.S. voters approve of the Respect for Marriage Act, including 40% who strongly approve. Thirty-three percent (33%) disapprove of the legislation, including 21% who strongly disapprove.
Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio and other senators were concerned about a provision in the bill that would allow "any person who is harmed" to file lawsuits against organizations that do not recognize same-sex marriage.
According to the Rasmussen survey, 49% of voters approve of that provision, including 29% who strongly approve, but 45% disapprove, including 32% who strongly disapprove.
Eighty-one percent of Democrats, 38% of Republicans, and 65% of unaffiliated voters at least somewhat approve of the RMA. Seventy-one percent of Democrats, 25% of Republicans, and 51% of unaffiliated voters at least somewhat approve of the RMA's provision that would allow "any person who is harmed" to file lawsuits against organizations that do not recognize same-sex marriage.
After the RMA passed the Senate, Ryan Bangert of the Alliance Defending Freedom said the bill "undermines religious freedom everywhere and exposes Americans throughout the country to predatory lawsuits by activists seeking to use the threat of litigation to silence debate and exclude people of faith from the public square," Rasmussen observed.
Fifty percent of voters agree with Bangert's statement, including 36% who strongly agree. Thirty-nine percent disagree, including 26% who strongly disagree. Another 12% are not sure, according to Rasmussen.
More men (55%) than women voters (45%) agree with Bangert's statement about the RMA's threat to religious freedom.
More Republicans (64%) than Democrats (38%) or unaffiliated voters (49%) agree with Bangert's statement that the bill "undermines religious freedom everywhere."
Majorities of every racial category — 58% of whites, 73% of black voters, and 69% of other minorities — at least somewhat approve of the Respect for Marriage Act. Whites (46%) are less likely than black voters (55%) or other minorities (54%) to agree that the bill "undermines religious freedom everywhere."
Seventy-five percent of voters under 40 at least somewhat approve of the Respect for Marriage Act, compared to 58% of those ages 40-64 and 52% of voters 65 and older. Voters ages 40-64 are most likely to strongly agree that the RMA "undermines religious freedom everywhere."
The higher the voter's income, the more likely they are to strongly approve of the Respect for Marriage Act, Rasmussen notes.
President Joe Biden's strongest supporters are also the most enthusiastic supporters of the RMA. Among voters who strongly approve of Biden's job performance as president, 82% strongly approve of the Respect for Marriage Act. By contrast, among those who strongly disapprove of Biden's performance, only 14% strongly approve of the RMA.
The survey of 1,000 U.S. Likely Voters was conducted on Nov. 30-Dec. 1, 2022 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC.
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