On Wednesday, the United States Senate voted to approve the Respect for Marriage Act. The Democrat-led bill passed with the support of twelve Republican senators.
According to the Daily Wire, the Respect for Marriage Act repeals the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act. The 1996 act, signed into law by President Bill Clinton, legally defined marriage as between one man and one woman.
Those opposing the bill voiced concerns that churches could be forced to perform same-sex marriages, not teach the traditional biblical view on marriage, and be forced to hire staff with lifestyles that oppose the historic Christian Church view that marriage is between a man and a woman.
Churches and religious organizations that violate the RFMA could lose their tax-exempt status and face other penalties, according to The Daily Wire.
Greg Baylor, senior counsel with Alliance Defending Freedom, told The Daily Wire that “the original version of the bill created serious threats to religious liberty. The changes to the bill did virtually nothing to address those threats. The amendments to the bill that purport to protect religious liberty are mere window dressing.”
Baylor argued the bill also “creates a threat to religious social service agencies that work with the government” and “gives the IRS one more building block in its case to take away the taxes and status of nonprofits that hold traditional views on marriage.”
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) opposed the bill and tweeted:
“I just voted against the ‘Respect for Marriage Act’ that is supposed to protect gay marriage without creating risks to religious freedom and religious institutions,” Graham wrote on social media. “Nothing in the bill adds new protections for gay marriage, but it does, in my view, create great uncertainty about religious liberty and institutions who oppose gay marriage.”
The 37 Republican senators rejecting the proposal are Sens. John Barrasso (R-WY), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), John Boozman (R-AR), Mike Braun (R-IN), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), John Cornyn (R-TX), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Steve Daines (R-MT), Debra Fischer (R-NE), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Bill Hagerty (R-TN), Josh Hawley (R-MO), John Hoeven (R-ND), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Ron Johnson (R-WI), John Kennedy (R-LA), James Lankford (R-OK), Mike Lee (R-UT), Roger Marshall (R-KS), Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Rand Paul (R-KY), James Risch (R-ID), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Rick Scott (R-FL), Tim Scott (R-SC), Richard Shelby (R-AL), John Thune (R-SD), Pat Toomey (R-PA), Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) and Roger Wicker (R-MS).
A final Senate vote to finalize the bill will take place “sometime later this week,” according to the Washington Examiner. Following the Senate vote, the bill will go to the Democratic-controlled House and then to President Joe Biden for approval.
No Democrat voted against the bill. The Republicans who voted with Democrats to pass the bill are Roy Blunt (R-MO), Richard Burr (R-NC), Shelley Capito (R-WV), Susan Collins (R-ME), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Rob Portman (R-OH), Mitt Romney (R-UT), Dan Sullivan (R-AK), Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Todd Young (R-IN).
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