The U.S. House approved a federal same-sex marriage bill a few weeks ago, but here was no vote in the Senate because there were not enough votes to get it approved there. However, sponsor Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisconsin), the first openly homosexual woman elected to Congress, has said there would be a vote after the midterm elections. Senator Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin) pledged he would not publicly oppose Baldwin's bill, reportedly requesting that nothing "obnoxious" be added to it.
Mary Beth Waddell of the Family Research Council (FRC) Action tells AFN new text on religious freedom has since been added.
"You're creating a private right of action that's going to supercharge attacks on people and organizations that believe in natural marriage," she details. "You're tacitly vilifying millions of Americans who believe in natural marriage by saying that that belief is sex discrimination and that it's tantamount to racism. You're still threatening the tax-exempt status of faith-based organizations in this legislation."
Regardless of who takes control of Congress, The Washington Stand's Suzanne Bowdey writes that the Democrats are "already plotting to spend their last two months doing as much damage with their majority as possible."
If Republicans gain majorities in the House and Senate, Democrats are likely to push for a vote on the so-called Respect for Marriage Act after the election in the lame-duck session, going much farther than simply legalizing same-sex marriage in law and repealing the Clinton-era Defense of Marriage Act. FRC's Quena Gonzalez says it would supercharge existing religious liberty attacks on people and organizations who believe in natural marriage — including foster- and adoption-care providers, women's shelters, and others seeking to serve the most vulnerable.
Actually, Politico warns that this year's winter session is "jam-packed with minefields and postponed work." Among other things, Democrats hope to tackle a government funding package, Defense Department spending (regarding women in the draft, servicemembers' abortions, and more), and other last-ditch judicial confirmations at a time when most Americans are generally distracted with the holidays and political accountability is at its lowest.
"There is less electoral and constituent accountability," Waddell notes. "The elections have already happened, and so members maybe feel a little bit more free to go against what their constituents may want."
Current elected members return for the lame-duck session on November 14th. Leading up to that, Politico reports that a handful of CEOs have teamed up with the Democrats to persuade the GOP to "for the first time in support of same-sex marriage rights."