San Antonio Express-News
Nov. 17—Texas Republicans Ted Cruz and John Cornyn were among 37 senators who voted to block a bill codifying federal protections for same-sex marriages. The bill, dubbed the Respect for Marriage Act, would require people to be considered married in any state as long as the marriage was valid in the state where it was performed. It would also repeal the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, which defined marriage as the union of one man and one woman and allowed states to not recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states.
The measure was advanced in the Senate on Wednesday in a 62-37 vote, with 12 Republicans and all 50 Democrats voting in favor of advancing the bill for a debate and final vote. “Today, the Senate is taking a truly bold step forward in the march towards greater justice, greater equality, by advancing the Respect for Marriage Act,” said Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y) prior to the vote Wednesday. “It’s a simple, narrowly tailored, but exceedingly important piece of legislation that will do so much good for so many Americans. It will make our country a better, fairer place to live.”
Prior to the vote, Cornyn argued that the bill was not necessary to “reaffirm what is already a constitutional right of same-sex marriage, which is not under any imminent threat.” Meanwhile, Cruz made good on his promise to vote against the bill. During a September episode of his podcast The Verdict, Cruz argued that the Respect for Marriage Act “would have massive consequences across our country, weaponizing the Biden administration to go and target universities, K-12 schools, social service organizations, churches and strip them all of their tax-exempt status.”
The U.S. House passed a similar bill in July after Democrats raised concerns that federal protections for same-sex marriage and interracial marriages could be at risk following the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade in June. In his concurring opinion in the Supreme Court decision, Justice Clarence Thomas suggested the high court should reconsider previous rulings, including those that legalized same-sex relationships (Lawrence v. Texas) and marriage equality (Obergefell v. Hodges).
The bipartisan group in the senate agreed to add language ensuring that organizations that do not support same-sex couples won’t lose tax-exempt status or other benefits. They also added language clarifying that the bill does not require or authorize the federal government to recognize polygamous marriages. The revised bill will need to be taken up by the House again before it is cleared for President Joe Biden’s signature.
Cruz and Cornyn’s offices did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday.
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