Democrats reject same-sex marriage vote until after midterm elections

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WASHINGTON — Democrats announced Thursday that the Senate will not vote on legislation to protect same-sex marriage before November’s midterm elections, due to insufficient support for the measure among Republicans.

Proponents of the Respect for Marriage Act had hoped to vote on and pass the bill next week, before the Senate recesses for October ahead of the election. But senators involved in the talks on the measure failed to garner at least 10 Republican votes.

“We’re very confident the bill will pass, but we’ll need a little more time,” Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), the bill’s lead Democratic sponsor, told reporters. at Capitol Hill.

Same-sex marriage is currently legal nationwide due to a 2015 Supreme Court ruling. But given the risk that the conservative-majority court will reverse its past ruling, as it did on abortion, Democrats are pushing to codify same-sex marriage rights into legislation.

Democrats agreed to several changes sought by conservatives, including making sure the bill would not protect polygamous relationships or marriage between more than two people, and that it would not infringe on religious freedom.

But those changes weren’t enough for many Republicans, who argue the bill is unnecessary and are loath to anger their base ahead of a pivotal election.

“They will get more votes in November and December,” Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) told reporters Thursday. “If I wanted to push this through and I was the majority leader and wanted to get as many votes as possible, I would wait until after the election.”

“I’m a pretty traditional guy. I believe marriage is between a man and a woman,” Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) said, making it clear he opposes the bill.

This is a developing story. Please check for updates.



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