Senate takes up same-sex marriage bill after Thanksgiving break


The Senate is set to advance the Respect for Marriage Act this week, a bill that would codify same-sex marriage into federal law.

On Monday, the Senate will reconvene after the Thanksgiving holiday and hold a procedural vote on an amendment aimed at adding religious freedom protections to the bill.

That amendment, introduced by Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., and others, will need to get 60 votes to clear the procedural hurdle and get a chance at a final Senate vote before it can be included in the bill, which is expected to pass the Senate later this week.

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Protesters in Michigan and around the country have put pressure on Congress to pass same-sex marriage legislation.
(Todd McInturf/Detroit News via AP)

The bill would require the federal government to recognize all marriages, including same-sex marriages, that are legal in the state where they took place. The amendment from Collins and Baldwin is aimed at making sure the bill does not undermine religious liberty and states that nonprofit religious organizations “shall not be required to provide services” to a marriage it opposes.

The amendment also says nothing in the bill can threaten the tax-exempt status of religious groups.

On Nov. 16, the bill cleared the Senate’s first procedural hurdle in a 62-37 vote in favor of ending debate and moving it to a final vote.

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Sen. Susan Collins has an amendment that will get a critical procedural vote in the Senate on Monday.

Sen. Susan Collins has an amendment that will get a critical procedural vote in the Senate on Monday.
(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

The GOP senators voting in favor of the bill were Roy Blunt, Richard Burr, Shelley Moore Capito, Susan Collins, Joni Ernst, Cynthia Lummis, Lisa Murkowski, Rob Portman, Mitt Romney, Dan Sullivan, Thom Tillis and Todd Young.

While it is not guaranteed, other amendments may be considered later this week, including one introduced by Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, who said the current version of religious liberty protections in the bill were “severely anemic and largely illusory,” adding that the Collins amendment is “insufficient.”

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Sen. Mike Lee says more needs to be done to ensure religious liberty in a bill codifying same-sex marriage.

Sen. Mike Lee says more needs to be done to ensure religious liberty in a bill codifying same-sex marriage.
(Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

“Religious Americans will be subject to potentially ruinous litigation, while the tax-exempt status of certain charitable organizations, education institutions and nonprofits will be threatened,” Lee said in reaction to the bill’s first passage.

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A final vote on the Respect for Marriage Act is likely to occur later this week.

Fox News’ Chad Pergram contributed to this report.



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