Senate Democrats on Thursday announced the postponement of voting on the Respect for Marriage Act, saying formal consideration of the legislation — which passed overwhelmingly in the House two months ago — would be delayed until after the midterms on Nov. 8.
The voting will come "after the election," said Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., the Senate Democrats' lead negotiator on the Respect for Marriage Act.
Earlier this week, Baldwin had expressed optimism that the Respect for Marriage Act would reach the Senate floor sometime in September; but that notion has seemingly vanquished, in the wake of Thursday's statement.
To pass major legislation like this, Senate Democrats likely would require at least 10 Republicans to break the 60-vote threshold, otherwise known as a filibuster.
In August, Baldwin said that 10 Republican senators had pledged their initial support for the Respect for Marriage Act.
Republicans and Democrats are currently deadlocked in a 50-all tie for Senate seats, heading into the midterms.
Outgoing Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., who'll be retiring in January, supported Baldwin's decision to postpone the vote.
"If I wanted to pass that, and I was the majority leader and I wanted to get as many votes as I could possibly get, I'd wait until after the election to have the vote," Blunt recently told reporters.
On Thursday, a bipartisan group of negotiators reportedly discussed the merits of releasing the text of an amendment designed to address concerns of Republican lawmakers "who feared the legislation could put churches and other religious institutions at legal risk," if Congress formally voted to codify same-sex marriage rights.
If approved by the Senate, the House bill from July — which passed by a 267-157 margin, including 47 Republicans who voted for the bill — would subsequently repeal the Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as the union of one man and one woman.
By extension, it would oblige states to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states.
The Human Rights Campaign, a national LGBTQ+ rights group, recently conducted a survey in 11 bellwether states — Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin — and determined that 64% of respondents would support a law "protecting the national right to same-sex marriage."
The survey tracked the opinions of 1,007 registered voters and covered the five-day period of July 28-Aug. 1.
HRC's findings run similar to other national polls regarding marriage equality.
A recent Gallup poll had 71% of American voters supporting the legal validity of same-sex marriage — an all-time high for that particular survey.
Also, a Morning Consult poll had nearly 60% of survey participants being comfortable with shielding same-sex marriage with federal legislation.
Same-sex marriage has been legal in the United States since 2015, when the Supreme Court ruled in Obergefell v. Hodges the right to marry is guaranteed to same-sex couples, per the U.S. Constitution.
Depiste that, 35 states already have statutes or constitutional amendments prohibiting same-sex marriage on the books.
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