Baldwin Thinks She Can Still Find 10 GOP Votes To Protect Same-Sex Marriage

WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 05: Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) speaks at a press conference on the Senate’s upcoming procedural vote to codify Roe v. Wade at the U.S. Capitol Building on May 05, 2022 in Washington, DC. Earli... WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 05: Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) speaks at a press conference on the Senate’s upcoming procedural vote to codify Roe v. Wade at the U.S. Capitol Building on May 05, 2022 in Washington, DC. Earlier today Leader Schumer announced that the U.S. Senate would take up the vote to make abortion legal nationwide in the middle of next week, however the vote requires a sixty-vote threshold to pass, meaning it will likely fail. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images) MORE LESS

Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), who has been lobbying senators to vote for a bill codifying same-sex marriage, said she believes she will be able to find the 10 GOP votes needed for the bill to overcome the filibuster in the evenly-divided Senate.

The Respect for Marriage Act would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as between a man and a woman. The bill would require the federal government to recognize interracial and same-sex marriages.

During an interview that aired on PBS Wisconsin Tuesday, Baldwin was asked about her effort to win GOP support for the bill. Ten GOP senators would need to support the legislation in order to break a filibuster in the 50-50 Senate.

Baldwin noted that five Republicans have already publicly stated their support for it, before saying that she has spoken with five additional GOP senators who indicated they are “leaning in support.”

Baldwin predicted that the vote for the bill likely won’t happen until September due to the upcoming Senate recess and COVID-related delays.

“I think because of how crowded the calendar is for next week, which is our last week before the August recess, and in light of the fact that we can’t have any absences, we need everybody there,” Baldwin said. “And we have a few members with COVID, this is probably going to be a vote that occurs, what I would hope would be early September.”

Baldwin was then asked why she still has to lobby GOP senators to vote for the bill, despite the latest Gallup poll showing that 70 percent of the public supports same-sex marriage, which includes 55 percent of Republicans.

“Congress of the United States sadly has often followed public opinion, rather than led public opinion,” Baldwin said.

Baldwin reiterated that the bill codifying same-sex marriage is needed now in light of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’ concurring opinion in the Court’s June ruling that overturned Roe v. Wade. In his concurring opinion, Thomas advised his colleagues on the High Court to revisit other cases concerning the constitutional right to privacy, which includes cases that protected same-sex marriage and access to contraception.

Baldwin’s comments come as GOP senators have signaled a willingness to take legislation hostage more or less at random, retaliation for the surprise reconciliation deal that Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) reached last week. The agreement between Schumer and Manchin would help reduce the U.S.’s greenhouse gas emissions, help lower prescription drug prices and implement a 15 percent minimum corporate tax for companies of $1 billion or larger.

Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), who is a co-sponsor of the Respect for Marriage Act, last week suggested that Republicans may hold up the same-sex marriage bill’s passage because of their disapproval of the reconciliation bill.

“After we just had worked together successfully on gun safety legislation, on the CHIPs bill, it was a very unfortunate move that destroys the many bipartisan efforts that are under way,” Collins said. “I just think the timing could not have been worse and it came totally out of the blue.”

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