U.S. Senate to vote on Respect for Marriage Act in ‘coming weeks’

Wisconsin Sen. Johnson reversing course after initially seeing no reason to oppose bill

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WKBT) — U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer says the Senate will vote on marriage equality in the “coming weeks.”

Congress introduced the Respect for Marriage Act in July to codify same-sex and interracial marriage as a response to the Supreme Court overturning Roe v Wade.

In that Roe decision, Justice Clarence Thomas had suggested the court look at previous rulings on marriage equality and right to contraceptives.

Democrats seek to put those rights into federal law.

The bill already passed the House but needs 10 Republican senators’ support to avoid the filibuster and bring the bill to a vote. Wisconsin Senator Tammy Baldwin, the first lesbian woman elected to the Senate, has been working with Republican Susan Collins to find that Republican support.

Wisconsin’s other U.S. Senator Ron Johnson is reversing course on initial support for the Respect for Marriage Act.

Sen. Johnson says he won’t support the bill in its current state because of concerns over religious liberties. Two months ago Johnson issued a statement saying he saw “no reason to oppose” the bill.

A progressive talk radio station has obtained audio of Johnson telling a group of Wisconsin voters earlier this month that he wrote that statement to get congressional reporters “off my back.”

Johnson says he always supported civil unions and believes the Supreme Court will never overturn previous decisions on marriage equality.