Democrats in the Senate Seek to Recognize Gay Marriage

On Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer announced he’s attempting to grow support for a bill by the House recognizing same-sex unions nationally.

Schumer’s goal is to have the bill accepted by the Senate so it can become law. 

The Filibuster

The bill would need ten votes from the Republican caucus to overcome a filibuster if all 50 Democrats in the Senate supported it; however, expectations for its success have risen after 47 House Republicans expressed support for the bill.

Schumer had a conversation with Sen. Tammy Baldwin, a supporter of the Senate counterpart measure, to determine whether or not the legislation has sufficient support from Republicans to pass the Senate.

He also stated the bill is extremely necessary. Schumer commented that Baldwin is currently having conversations with Republicans in order to determine where the support lies.

He wants to personally present this bill to the floor of the Senate, where they are currently working to secure the necessary support from Senate Republicans to ensure it will be successful. 

The plan that is being considered in the Senate has the support of Republican Senators Susan Collins and Rob Portman. 

According to Portman, Republican perspectives on same-sex marriage are shifting. He predicted there is “a chance” the bill might gain ten votes from Republicans to break a filibuster. 

Shifting Tone

He said when you look at votes in the House and changing attitudes towards this matter all across the country, he believes that many Americans, regardless of their political affiliations, have reached a consensus on this matter. 

His personal opinions on this matter has not altered from some years ago when he argued that individuals should be allowed the right to marry whoever they choose. 

A person would only be considered married if their marriage was recognized by the state’s legal system in which they had their wedding ceremony. This provision would be included in the bill to embody marriage rights for all in federal law. 

According to a summary that was provided by the office of Senator Dianne Feinstein, another co-sponsor of the legislation, the bill also restricts state and local officials from trying to deny complete faith and credit to an out-of-state wedding, based on the sex of the couple, their race, or their ethnicity. 

In the House of Representatives, a vote of 267 to 157 showed the vast majority of Republicans opposed the measure. However, the votes of 47 Republicans in favor of the measure were a surprise to many observers. 

Portman pointed out that in 2013, the Senate unanimously approved a bill that prohibits discrimination against LGBT people. 

In the same year, a bill to protect lesbian, homosexual, bisexual, and transgender individuals from workplace discrimination received a vote of 64 to 32 in the Senate.

This article appeared in NewsHouse and has been published here with permission.