The Respect for Marriage Act, a bill that will formalize same-sex marriage into federal law, advanced on Wednesday after the Senate overcame a significant procedural obstacle.
In a 62-37 vote, the bill received support from both parties, and a few Republicans voted to advance it, giving it the necessary votes to overcome the filibuster threshold of 60.
The top senate Democrat reaffirmed his intention to introduce the bill for a vote in September, but he decided to postpone the vote at the urging of his colleagues on both sides of the aisle to give the
"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," said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.
"If both parties can come together, today could be truly one of the highlights of the year for this body," he said.
A vote on the bill's final passage is anticipated this week or after the Thanksgiving break because the Senate will not align the legislation with the version previously approved by the House of Representatives.
A co-author of the bill, Susan Collins, R-Maine, also spoke, praising its protections for religious liberty and conscious rights and stating that it "recognizes the extraordinary and special importance of marriage on both an individual and societal level."
Some conservative groups argue against the bill calling it "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," said Kristen Waggoner CEO of Alliance Defending Freedom.
"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," she said.
"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 continued. "There's every reason under the sun to move forward and begin debating this important legislation."