U.S. Senate Invokes Cloture for Bipartisan Respect for Marriage Act 62-37, with every Democrat and 12 Republican Votes; Vote Moves to Senate Floor

by Henry Berg-Brousseau

Bipartisan Vote to Invoke Cloture Overcomes Key Legislative Hurdle For The Respect For Marriage Act – And Makes It Clear that the Debate Over Marriage Equality Is Over

WASHINGTON — The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) — the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization — today celebrated the bipartisan vote to invoke cloture on the Respect for Marriage Act (RMA) in the U.S. Senate, a vote which requires 60 Senators’ ‘yea’ votes to overcome a filibuster and allow the Senate to consider the legislation.

The motion passed 62-37, garnering the vote of every Senate Democrat and 12 Republicans in a demonstration of the widespread and bipartisan support for marriage equality. This legislation will guarantee the federal rights, benefits, and obligations of marriage in the federal code, repeal the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and affirm that public acts, records and proceedings should be recognized by all states. It also codifies the right to interracial marriage.

HRC is thankful for the leadership of Senator Baldwin, Senator Collins, Senator Portman, Senator Sinema and Senator Tillis and praises the Senate for taking this important step to advance this vital legislation. The bill now awaits final Senate approval, which requires a simple majority vote.

In response to the bill's passage, HRC Incoming President Kelley Robinson issued the following statement:

“The devastating United States Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade was a clear reminder that we are just one Supreme Court decision away from losing too many of our hard fought for rights. In the concurring opinion, Justice Thomas made the outrageous suggestion that Lawrence v. Texas and Obergefell v. Hodges should be next to be challenged. It is clear there is an urgent, dire need to ensure, once and for all, that the days of debate around marriage equality are over. The will of the people is on our side.
“568,000 same-sex, married couples across America rely upon the decisions in Windsor v. United States and Obergefell v. Hodges, and they deserve to know that the federal government has no intention of going back to the dark days of DOMA. The Respect for Marriage Act is an essential piece of legislation that affirms that every marriage, and every family, is valid and beautiful. Today’s strong bipartisan vote of 62-37 for cloture is an incredible victory that cannot be taken lightly—this vote was the bill’s biggest procedural roadblock, and now we steer our focus forward to the Senate’s final vote on this historic legislation. Our work is not done.”

The RMA passed the House 267-157, garnering 47 Republican votes — proving that support for marriage equality is widespread and bipartisan. In the aftermath of Dobbs, it is more important than ever that we enshrine our court-protected civil liberties into law.

HRC is uniquely positioned to engage our members and supporters in favor of this legislation. We are mobilizing 238 major businesses representing over 8.5 million employees, a grassroots army of more than 3 million members, supporters and volunteers, and the nation’s 62 million “Equality Voters” to call on the U.S. Senate to pass the Respect for Marriage Act (RMA). To read personal stories of why marriage equality remains important to LGBTQ+ couples across the country, click here, and to watch a video featuring a D.C.-based couple, click here.

More Than Two-Thirds of People Support Marriage Equality

According to Gallup, 71% of Americans support marriage for same-sex couples. 55% of Republicans support same-sex marriage, along with 83% of Democrats and 73% of Independents. According to recent polling from HRC, 64% of people living in battleground states – AZ, CA, GA, MI, NV, PA, WI, FL, NH, NC, OH, TX, CO, and ME – support marriage equality, demonstrating the issue’s popularity even in politically divided states. The latest survey from PRRI this year found that support for marriage equality has increased by 14 percentage points since 2014 (54%). Today, majorities of most religious groups favor marriage equality. White evangelical Protestants (35%) and Latter-day Saints (46%) remain the only major religious groups with less than majority support for marriage equality. According to the last Census, about 58% (568,000) of couples in the nation’s 980,000 same-sex households were married and about 42% were unmarried partners.

Read More:

Washington Post Op-Ed from U.S. Sens. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., and Susan Collins, R-Maine: The Senate must stand together on marriage equality

NBC Op-Ed from HRC President Joni Madison: Opponents of Marriage Equality Face an Uphill Battle

CNN Op-Ed from Match Group’s Jared Sine: Americans should be able to marry whoever they choose. But some senators don't support protecting that right

Washington Post Editorial: The Respect for Marriage Act must pass — and Republicans should support it

Wall Street Journal Op-Ed: Congress Should Codify Same-Sex Marriage

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ+ people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.

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