Senate clears hurdle to move gay marriage bill toward final passage

The Senate Wednesday cleared a key procedural hurdle to move forward the Respect for Marriage Act, a bill that will codify same-sex marriage into federal law.

The bill earned bipartisan support in a 62-37 vote, with a handful of Republicans voting to move the bill along, giving it enough votes to clear the 60-vote filibuster.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., spoke from the Senate floor Wednesday saying the bill is “simple, narrowly tailored but exceedingly important” measure, “as personal as it gets.”

REPUBLICAN SENATORS PREDICT MCCONNELL HAS BACKING TO REMAIN PARTY LEADER

Ikeita Cantu, left, and her wife Carmen Guzman, of McLean, Virginia, hold up signs as they celebrate outside the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., Friday, June 26, 2015, after the court declared that same-sex couples have a right to marry anywhere in the U.S.

The top senate Democrat reiterated his original intent to introduce the bill for a vote in September, but at the urging of his colleagues on both sides of the aisle, opted to hold off on schedule a vote to give time for the “bipartisan process to play out.”

“Much better to pass this legislation and move equality forward than simply have a show vote that would bring political reckoning, but no real change,” he added

“If both parties can come together, today could be truly one of the highlights of the year for this body,” Schumer said.

The Senate will not sync up the bill with the version passed previously by the House of Representatives, and a vote on final passage is expected this week or after the Thanksgiving recess.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York.
(AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

WALKER HAULS IN $11 MILLION SINCE START OF GEORGIA RUNOFF CAMPAIGN; GOES UP WITH FIRST AD

Susan Collins, R-Maine, a co-author, also spoke saying the bill recognizes the unique and extraordinary importance of marriage on an individual and societal level,” and touted the bill’s religious liberty and conscious protections.

Some conservative groups, however, dispute that claim and criticize the bill as “lip service to religious liberty while undermining the First Amendment freedoms available to each of us.”

“Right now, government officials across the country–including the Biden administration–argue in court that individuals and religious organizations who love and work with people from all walks of life should face civil and criminal penalties if they don’t abandon their beliefs on this issue,” Kristen Waggoner CEO of Alliance Defending Freedom said in a statement.

“Make no mistake, this bill will be used by officials and activists to punish and ruin those who do not share the government’s view on marriage,” Waggoner said.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

“My job at the end of the day will always be to prioritize getting things passed through this chamber, and marriage equality is too important an issue to risk failure,” Schumer said Wednesday.

Republican Senator Rob Portman of Ohio is retiring from the Senate at the end of the year.
(Photo by AL DRAGO/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

FIRST ON FOX NEW: RNC SENDING TROOPS TO GEORGIA FOR RUNOFF CAMPAIGN

“There’s every reason under the sun to move forward and begin debating this important legislation,” Schumer said.