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Negotiators of the Senate same-sex marriage bill face key questions about what it will look like and how they will pass it as they continue to meet in a bid to push the legislation forward before the mid- mandates.
Among the key issues, some Republicans are calling for an amendment to address religious conscience protections, which may be needed for the bill to erase the Senate’s 60-vote filibuster threshold. Additionally, the chamber’s limited speaking time means the bill competes with other priorities for votes and debate.
A Capitol Hill Democratic source told Fox News Digital on Tuesday that senior Senate Democrats discussed including the bill in a must-have government fundraising package called a continuing resolution. In theory, it could buy floor time by combining several Democratic priorities and enticing some reluctant Republicans who want to avoid a government shutdown to vote for the bill.
However, the senses. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., and Rob Portman, R-Ohio, original sponsors of the Senate marriage equality bill, cast doubt on the idea on Tuesday — though they didn’t categorically rejected.
GAY MARRIAGE BILL, OTHER MAJOR ISSUES ARE IN LIMB AS SENATE RETURNS FROM AUGUST RECESSION
“We’ll talk about it tomorrow with the band. I’ll withhold judgment — except to say I’m skeptical,” Portman told Fox News Digital on Tuesday. “It’s better to deal with it on the merits, I think.”
“Attaching the legislation to a CR is not the senator’s preferred route as she would like it passed sooner,” a spokesperson for Baldwin’s office said. “The senator’s goal is to pass the Respect for Marriage Act, and she will do whatever it takes to make it happen.”
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D.N.Y., promised a vote on same-sex marriage but did not commit to a timeline, stressing the importance of appeals court confirmations that are taking time. time. A continuing resolution should be adopted before the end of September.
Details of a possible amendment on religious protections are also still undecided.
This is a priority for some Republicans who are open to voting to codify same-sex marriage rights but also want to make sure the bill doesn’t inadvertently undermine Americans’ First Amendment rights. It could also risk upsetting some Democrats if they think it goes too far,
Baldwin said senators expect to complete work on this in the coming days.
“There were great conversations about an amendment to address the many concerns of those who would like to get the yes,” Baldwin told reporters. “People have reviewed the language. We’ll release it later this week.”
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A spokeswoman for Baldwin’s office also said she “will meet with fellow Republicans this week to compare notes on their outreach efforts to build support for Senate Republicans.”
Congressional efforts to pass legislation protecting same-sex marriage rights followed a solo Supreme Court opinion by Justice Clarence Thomas in June in the case Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which he said should “reconsider” his precedent on the matter.
No other justices joined Thomas, but the opinion has become a major campaign issue for Democrats and has prompted lawmakers from both parties to craft legislation that would require states to recognize same-sex marriage even if that precedent eventually falls. .