The U.S. Senate has delayed a vote on the deceptively named “Respect for Marriage Act,” a bill that would codify same-sex marriage into law. Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisconsin), the bill’s chief sponsor, told reporters Sept. 15 that the bill will not be taken up until after the 2022 midterm elections in November.
“We’re very confident that the bill will pass, but we will need a little more time,” Baldwin said.
The U.S. House of Representatives passed the bill 267-157 on July 19, with 47 Republicans joining every Democrat in the majority.
“While I’m not surprised that all of the House Democrats voted in favor of this bill, I was confused by the 47 Republicans who followed suit,” Franklin Graham posted to Facebook following the vote. “God says that marriage is to be between one man and one woman—not two men, not two women. The GOP used to believe that too.”
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) had hoped to hold a vote in the Senate as soon as Sept. 19, but it was unclear if there would be 10 Republican senators who would vote in support of the same-sex marriage bill—a reality that Schumer found “extremely disappointing,” according to his spokesperson, Justin Goodman.
“Leader Schumer will not give up and will hold the bipartisan group to their promise that the votes to pass this marriage equality legislation will be there after the election,” Goodman said.
Religious liberty organization First Liberty Institute started a petition in an effort to stop the passage of the Respect for Marriage Act in the Senate.
“This bill is a threat to religious liberty,” the organization stated. “It is an attack on millions of religious Americans who simply want to live their lives consistent with their deeply held beliefs.”
First Liberty listed three potential consequences if the bill is signed into law:
- It could be used to strip nonprofit, faith-based organizations of their tax-exempt status if they adhere to their religious belief about marriage.
- It would give activist groups grounds to sue religious individuals, organizations and businesses with sincerely held religious beliefs about marriage. This would affect millions of faith-based foster care providers, religious social service organizations and even religious organizations and businesses that contract with the federal government.
- It would require the federal government to recognize any state’s definition of marriage, no matter how far-fetched. This would negatively impact federal laws and policies regarding marriage and its benefits and also endanger parental rights.
Franklin urged Christians to be in prayer and act according to their Biblical values:
“Will you pray for God’s intervention as this bill moves on to the Senate?” he said. “Only He can save us from our evil and rebellious ways. Make sure you know how your representatives vote because it reveals where they stand on these and other important Biblical and moral issues. Remember, elections are our opportunity to vote for men and women who support Biblical values and morality.”