[Dis]Respect For Marriage Clears Critical Senate Vote

This article was updated on November 22, 2022.

On November 16, 2022, under the leadership of Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), the U.S. Senate voted 62-37 to advance the so-called Respect for Marriage Act. A dozen Senate Republicans joined all 48 Senate Democrats and two Democrat-affiliated independents in supporting this misguided and destructive legislation, enabling the bill to exceed the required 60-vote threshold.

Same-sex “marriage” became legal throughout the United States in 2015 when the Supreme Court of the United States issued its decision in Obergefell v. Hodges. In Obergefell, the Court held that the Constitution required that same-sex unions be recognized as marriages. The Respect for Marriage Act—which could be more accurately described as the Disrespect for Marriage Act—would keep same-sex “marriage” legal throughout the nation even if the Supreme Court were to someday overturn the Obergefell decision. Furthermore, the Disrespect for Marriage Act would require the federal government to recognize any marriage between two individuals that is legally valid in the state where the marriage was entered into. If a state were to make it legal for one person to enter into multiple marriages, the Disrespect for Marriage Act would require the federal government to recognize those polygamous marriages. The legislation also opens up faith-based charities to lawsuits. While a bipartisan group of senators has crafted an amendment that supposedly protects the religious liberty of individuals and organizations that do not recognize same-sex “marriages,” conservatives regard that amendment as little more than window dressing.

The Disrespect for Marriage Act will now proceed to a second cloture vote. If the bill reaches the 60-vote threshold again, the bill will receive a Senate floor vote in which a simple majority is needed for passage. Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) and 19 of his Republican colleagues are making an effort to persuade the 12 Republicans who voted for the Disrespect for Marriage Act to oppose the bill unless it is amended to include strong religious freedom provisions. If successful, this strategy would either stop the bill altogether or limit the damage it could cause. A vote is expected on Monday, November 28. Because the Senate bill differs from the version of the bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives on July 20, 2022, the House will need to pass the bill again before it can become law. Under the leadership of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), the House is expected to re-pass the Disrespect for Marriage Act. President Joe Biden has stated that he will sign the bill if it reaches his desk.

New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms thanks the 37 senators who bravely voted for the true definition of marriage. We are deeply disappointed in the 12 Republicans, the 48 Democrats, and the two Democrat-affiliated independents that voted to advance the Disrespect for Marriage Act. NYCF is also disappointed with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who could have and should have informed his Republican colleagues that they were expected to vote against this bill. NYCF encourages residents of states whose Republican senators betrayed them by voting for this bill to recruit pro-family candidates to run against those senators in future Republican primaries. We also wish to acknowledge the obvious fact that the Republican Party can no longer be trusted to stand for traditional marriage or against other pro-LGBT policies. Apparently, appeasing the 7% of the adult population that identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender—a constituency that strongly tilts in favor of Democrats—is now more important to some Republicans than standing with Christians and conservatives.

Following today’s Senate vote, Jason J. McGuire, executive director of New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms, commented, “The family is the most basic building block of any society. It is a tragic day when our elected leaders fail to recognize that marriage between a man and woman serves the best interests of children and of our culture. May God have mercy on our nation, and may Americans return to a right understanding of this most basic of human relationships.”

U.S. Senators who voted FOR the Disrespect for Marriage Act:

Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI)

Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO)

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT)

Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO)

Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ)

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH)

Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC)

Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA)

Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV)

Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD)

Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE)

Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA)

Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME)

Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE)

Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV)

Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL)

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL)

Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA)

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)

Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-NH)

Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-NM)

Sen. John Hickenlooper (D-CO)

Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI)

Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA)

Sen. Mark Kelly (D-AZ)

Sen. Angus King (I-ME)

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT)

Sen. Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM)

Sen. Cynthia Lummis (R-WY)

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV)

Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA)

Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ)

Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR)

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT)

Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA)

Sen. Jon Ossoff (D-GA)

Sen. Alex Padilla (D-CA)

Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI)

Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH)

Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI)

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT)

Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-NV)

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT)

Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI)

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY)

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH)

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ)

Sen. Tina Smith (D-MN)

Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)

Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-AK)

Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT)

Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC)

Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD)

Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA)

Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-GA)

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR)

Sen. Todd Young (R-IN)

U.S. Senators who voted AGAINST the Disrespect for Marriage Act:

Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY)

Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN)

Sen. John Boozman (R-AR)

Sen. Mike Braun (R-IN)

Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA)

Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX)

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR)

Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-ND)

Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID)

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)

Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT)

Sen. Deb Fischer (R-NE)

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC)

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA)

Sen. Bill Hagerty (R-TN)

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO)

Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND)

Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS)

Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK)

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI)

Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA)

Sen. James Lankford (R-OK)

Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT)

Sen. Roger Marshall (R-KS)

Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY)

Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS)

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY)

Sen. Jim Risch (R-ID)

Sen. Mike Rounds (R-SD)

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL)

Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL)

Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC)

Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL)

Sen. John Thune (R-SD)

Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA)

Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL)

Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS)

Not Voting:

Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) (Excused Absence)