After 47 House Republicans voted Tuesday to codify same-sex marriage under the Respect for Marriage Act, the White House is urging the Senate for a quick passage of the bill Wednesday.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre called the bill "personal" for President Joe Biden, who vows to sign the bill into law if it passes the 50-50 Senate.
"He is a proud champion of the right for people to marry whom they love and is grateful to see bipartisan support for that right," Jean-Pierre told reporters aboard Air Force One, The Hill reported. "He believes it is non-negotiable and that the Senate should act swiftly to get this to the president's desk. He wants to sign this.
"We need this legislation, and we urge Congress to move as quickly as possible, and it’s something the vast majority of the country supports."
Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Rob Portman, R-Ohio, are co-sponsors of the Senate's companion bill, and Portman said there is "a possibility" 10 Republicans will join the 48 Democrats and two independents in the Senate to break the 60-vote Senate filibuster threshold.
Conservatives might be hesitant because the bill does take the issue of marriage out of the authority of state law and brings it to the federal level. It has been pushed after the Supreme Court overruled Roe v. Wade last month, effectively kicking the issue of abortion law back to the states.
"This legislation was so important," Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., told the Senate on Wednesday. "I want to bring this bill to the floor, and we're working to get the necessary Senate Republican support to ensure it would pass."
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., is reserving judgment on the bill.
"I'm going to delay announcing anything on that issue," McConnell said, The Hill reported.
Sens. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and Thom Tillis, R-N.C., are potentially other Senate Republicans on board, while Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., was skeptical Tuesday, seeing it as a political message in a midterm election year after abortion law was returned to the states.
A Gallup poll in June showed broad and increasing support for same-sex marriage, with 70% of U.S. adults saying they think such unions should be recognized by law. The poll showed majority support among both Democrats (83%) and Republicans (55%).
Approval of interracial marriage in the U.S. hit a six-decade high at 94% in September, according to Gallup.
One Republican Senate candidate, Joe O'Dea, who is challenging incumbent Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., said he was glad to see the same-sex marriage bill pass in the House.
"You've got a lot of politicians in both political parties who spend way too much time trying to tell people how to live their lives," he said. "That's just not me. I live my life. You live yours.
"Let's get on with solving the huge challenges facing the American people."
The Respect for Marriage Act would repeal the Clinton-era Defense of Marriage Act, which put into federal law the definition of marriage as a heterosexual union between a man and woman. That 1996 law was largely overshadowed by subsequent court rulings, including Obergefell vs. Hodges in 2015, legalizing gay marriage nationwide.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
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