Barely a week after the US midterm elections, a rare bipartisan vote on same-sex marriage in the United States took place in the Senate on Wednesday, November 16th.
After an agreement reached earlier this week between elected Democrats and Republicans, senators voted by a majority of 62 — including 12 elected Republicans — to 37 for a procedural provision that puts Congress on the path to enshrining federal law the right of same-sex association .
A final vote could take place as early as this week or later before the end of November. If passed, the law would require states to recognize all legal marriages where they took place.
negotiated for weeks
In the United States, same-sex partnerships have been guaranteed by the Supreme Court since 2015 with the Obergefell vs. Hodges decision. But following the historic turning point in the Supreme Court on abortion in June, many progressives fear that that right, too, will be eroded.
In mid-July, the House of Representatives passed legislation to protect these unions nationwide. All Democrats and 47 Republicans supported the text. But nearly 160 Republicans opposed it.
The Senate had been negotiating for weeks to ensure at least 10 Republican support for the text, which is required for its passage under qualified majority rules. A group of senators from both parties announced on Monday that an agreement had been reached on the matter.
Resistance from the religious right
Senate Democrats are moving quickly to pass the bill while their party still controls the upper house. Republicans have won the majority in the House of Representatives and are unlikely to raise the issue next year.
This text “will ensure LGBTQI+ and mixed couples are uniformly respected and protected by federal law”welcomed the President, Joe Biden, in a press release.
A large majority of Americans support same-sex marriage, including among Republicans. But the religious right remains largely opposed.
Senate Majority Leader Democrat Chuck Schumer said the bill, which will ensure legal recognition of same-sex partnerships, is an opportunity for the Senate “live up to one’s highest ideals” and to protect equal marriage for all. “It will make our country a better and fairer place to live”said Mr. Schumer.