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WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Tonight, the U.S. Senate voted on final passage of the (Dis)Respect for Marriage Act. Yesterday the Senate cleared the 60-vote threshold by a vote of 61-35, paving the way for another 60-vote threshold vote today on final passage (a modified process was agreed to by Senate leadership in exchange for votes on three proposed amendments to the bill). The bill passed 61-36.
For Monday's crucial 60-vote cloture vote, Senate Democrats needed 10 Republicans to cross the aisle and vote to redefine marriage; they got 12. Sens. Roy Blunt (R-MO), Richard Burr (R-NC), Shelley Capito (R-WV), Susan Collins (R-ME), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Rob Portman (R-OH), Mitt Romney (R-UT), Dan Sullivan (R-AK), Thom Tillis (R-NC), and Todd Young (R-IN) voted in favor of the bill.
A previous version of the bill passed the House in July. If this Senate-passed version passes in the House and is enacted by President Biden, it will accelerate and intensify the already-existing attacks on religious liberty (by creating a private right of action); legislatively cement anti-family policies harmful to children; make faith-based adoption and foster-care agencies a greater target for frivolous litigation, curtailing or ending their ability to help children find homes; threaten the tax-exempt status of adoption and foster care agencies (and other vitally needed non-profit organizations, whether religious or secular); and tacitly vilify millions of Americans who believe in natural marriage by labeling that belief as "sex discrimination," tantamount to racism.
Family Research Council president Tony Perkins released the following statement after the "Respect for Marriage" Act passed in the Senate:
"Republicans clearly acknowledged by their support of the Lee, Lankford, and Rubio amendments that this legislation is a threat to the First Amendment freedoms of individual Americans. And yet 12 of 12 Republicans still chose to vote for the (Dis)Respect for Marriage Act. The (Dis)Respect for Marriage Act makes people prime targets for government harassment, investigation, prosecution, even civil action. This bill is a club, with which the Left will attempt to beat people of orthodox faith--who believe in marriage as God designed it and history has defined--into submission to their destructive sexuality ideology.
"My experience as a former chairman of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) has shown me that religious freedom's greatest threat is not a military force that eradicates or suppresses religious freedom, although that has certainly occurred. The greatest threat are policies like the so-called Respect for Marriage Act. They are what curtails the exercise of religious freedom-- which leads not to a violent overthrow of this fundamental freedom, but to its systematic suppression and eventual loss. In other words, the government has declared open season on anyone who believes in marriage as it's always been, the union of a man and woman.
"We know what is right. We know what is true. Whether by the Court or by the Congress, truth cannot be altered. We need to have the courage to stand for it, remembering the words of the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 6, 'and having done all...stand firm.' These words apply so directly to us, we will continue to stand," Perkins concluded.