Legislation to protect same-sex marriages crossed a major Senate hurdle Wednesday, putting Congress on track to codify LGBT marriages while putting a giant bullseye on Christian churches and other religious organizations.
Twelve Republicans voted with all Democrats to move forward on the so-called “Respect for Marriage Act,” meaning a final vote could come as soon as this week, or later this month.
Texas GOP Sen. Ted Cruz voiced his opposition to the bipartisan legislation in a September episode of his podcast, saying the bill would punish religious institutions that use a “biblical definition of marriage” through a loss of funding.
“This bill, without a religious liberty protection, would have massive consequences across our country, weaponizing the Biden administration to go and target universities, K-12 schools, social services organizations, churches and strip them all of their tax-status,” Cruz said. “That is enormously consequential.”
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Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said the bill ensuring the unions are legally recognized under the law is a chance for the Senate to “live up to its highest ideals” and protect marriage equality for all people.
“It will make our country a better, fairer place to live,” Schumer said, noting that his own daughter and her wife are expecting a baby next year.
The 12 Republican senators who betrayed the Christian community include:
Roy Blunt (MO)
Richard Burr (NC)
Shelley Moore Capito (WV)
Susan Collins (ME)
Joni Ernst (IA)
Cynthia Lummis (WY)
Lisa Murkowski (AK)
Rob Portman (OH)
Dan Sullivan (AK)
Mitt Romney (UT)
Thom Tillis (NC)
Todd Young (IN)
The legislation would repeal the Clinton-era Defense of Marriage Act and require states to recognize all marriages that were legal where they were performed.
“This bill, which provides no protection or benefits that same-sex couples don’t already share, deceptively gives lip service to religious liberty while undermining the First Amendment freedoms that belong to each of us,” said Kristen Waggoner, CEO of Alliance Defending Freedom, a Christian legal advocacy group.
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“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,” Waggoner also added.
With reporting from Washington Post, USA Today