After more than two months of private negotiations on legislation that would codify same-sex marriage rights nationwide, the bill’s leading broker announced on Thursday that a vote on the bill would be adjourned until. after the midterms — a move, sources close to the negotiations said, aimed at winning more Republican supporters once the issue cannot be weaponized during the campaign season.
“I am still very confident that the bill will pass, but we will introduce it later, after the election,” Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) told reporters after a caucus lunch. with Democrats.
Baldwin, who, along with Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) led the effort to convince moderate Republican senators to support the law guarantee the right to same-sex marriage Nationwide, it was recently predicted that the bill would be put up for a vote as early as next week — although most recent polls show only six Republicans would support the bill. .
According to two sources familiar with the negotiations, Sens. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and Thom Tillis of North Carolina have privately told negotiators that they are willing to consider supporting the marriage bill if it is held for a vote after the midterm elections. Johnson, who is in a tight race for re-election this cycle, previously announced that he would support a bill that would protect same-sex marriage rights before reversing course earlier this month.
Senator Rob Portman (R-OH), who supported the bill, told reporters his Republican colleagues needed “more time to understand” the law.
“The possibility of a strong bipartisan vote after the election seems more likely,” Portman said.
“Republicans have a chance to do the right thing, or be held accountable if they again fail to defend basic liberties and families.“
– Evan Wolfson, a lawyer and marriage rights advocate
The decision to postpone the vote has angered some marriage rights advocates, who see the promise of post-election support as a Lucy and soccer ploy to avoid political defeat for opposing a measure. popular. Before Baldwin’s announcement, some movement leaders had quietly indicated that they wanted a vote held regardless of the number of whips – if only Republicans were held accountable for the project’s failure. legislation in the middle of the upcoming term.
Evan Wolfson, a lawyer and marriage rights advocate who is considered by many to be one of the founding members of the movement, said ahead of Baldwin’s statement: “The American people, including the majority of party members, are Republican Party, in favor of the freedom to marry. “Republicans have a chance to do the right thing, or be held accountable for once again failing to defend basic liberties and families.”
With less than four weeks in the legislative schedule before the midterm elections, and the hunt for ten Republican votes To ensure an unlikely majority in the Senate ran into repeated trouble, proponents of the bill grew increasingly concerned that time was running out on the issue. After Johnson publicly endorsed his support last week, some of the movement’s most prominent veterans told The Daily Beast the vote needed to take place even if Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (DN.Y.) cannot guarantee that vote. In the past, Schumer has often avoided scheduling a vote that is certain to fail – but marriage advocates point to the failed “Women’s Health Protection Act” vote in May as proof. that even a failed vote could have far-reaching political consequences.
“If they get this simple, universal and necessary measure, it will be proof that what voters need to do is elect more Democrats to the Senate to pass reform,” Wolfson said. and back to effective governance.
Another leading figure in the LGBT rights movement, who doesn’t want to undermine Baldwin and Collins’s relentless efforts to win over wobbly Republicans by defining his identity, said: told The Daily Beast that at this point, they’d rather hold a losing vote than put the issue on hold until Republicans can address the issue after the election.
“Honestly, with marriages safe for now, I’d rather they force a vote, collect Republican records, and help broadly with the midterms.” they say. “Abortion and marriage can be weight-leaning enough.”
Are from downfall of Roe v. Wade In June, Democrats repeatedly warned that a growing right-wing majority could pose a threat to same-sex marriage rights. So the job of securing enough votes to respect rights in federal law was largely left to Baldwin, the first and only openly gay member of the United States Senate. Baldwin, who confirmed to The Daily Beast last month that she and the White House had “communicated” about her work causing Republican supporters to squabble over the Respect for Marriage Act, remaining tight-lipped. about how her talks with other members went, but at the time indicated that the legislation would only face a vote when passage was secured.
The White House legislative affairs team tracked Baldwin on the whip, but according to multiple sources familiar with the White House involvement, did not directly engage with the senators to win it. their support. The following strategy a series of similar billsincluded a similar effort to codify abortion protections into federal law, where the legal work was largely left to members of Congress, rather than the grouping of legislative issues by The White House.
A leading figure in the fight for same-sex marriage rights told The Daily Beast: “There was no direct involvement. “Not available.”
Some marriage rights advocates told The Daily Beast they were frustrated with the idea of the bill being used as an electoral ploy, with the high risk of potentially losing rights that have only been legalized on the Internet. nationwide seven years ago.
“This is not a political question. Julianna Gonen, federal policy director for the National Center for Lesbian Rights, said this is about families in need of security and reassurance, not politics. “There is a lot of public support for the freedom to marry above all political persuasion, and we are 100% focused on doing all we can to ensure that this vote reflect the will of the people”.
Still, Gonen said, it’s clear that re-elected senators who will vote down the bill could face consideration at the ballot box.
“It’s not in anyone’s interest to let legislators vote against something that more than 70 percent of the American public supports,” Gonen said.
After deciding in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health overturned RoePresident Joe Biden has repeatedly indicated that the Supreme Court’s ruling could bring previously established rulings on privacy, including Obergefellis in danger and has supported systematization Obergefell federal law to protect it. But with the climate, taxes, and huge medical bills—Probably Biden’s last major legislative victory—Only hard to escape the jaws of failure, there are still more laws that can fit into any administrative body.
“Legislative matters are a trifle — you don’t have enough doctors to keep every bill alive,” said one White House official, who warned that although the Respect for Marriage Acts don’t die on arrival, to use their metaphor, it can be harder to maintain in existence than a scaled-down adjustment package.
Biden has an almost unremarkable track record in advocating for LGBT rights, most notably when he announced his support for same-sex marriage rights in 2012. His endorsement is widely seen as an endorsement of LGBT rights. key point in bringing marriage support into the mainstream Democratic and all LGBTQ supporters and community leaders who spoke to The Daily Beast said they believe in the president’s personal support — if it gets to his desk.
Some leaders have pointed to another signature piece of LGBTQ rights legislation that has effectively been scrapped, despite Biden’s uncompromising support. The Equality Act, which would protect LGBT people from discrimination in housing and services, was tired in the Senate for more than a year, with little involvement from the White House beyond Biden’s public support for its passage.
The White House did not respond to a request for comment about its not being directly involved in the Respect for Marriage Act, but spokespeople have previously said that lack of direct negotiation does not exclude participation in legal support. When asked about the president’s level of involvement with the bill in the White House press room on Tuesday, White House press secretary Karine Jean Pierre replied that while Biden “regularly chats with members Congress and their staff on a number of issues. . “
When asked if such a conversation would happen, Jean-Pierre said she had “nothing to share.”
—With additional reporting by Ursula Perano