Senate to Vote on Same-Sex Marriage Bill After Thanksgiving

(Bloomberg) — A final US Senate vote to pass legislation to protect the right of same-sex marriage will be pushed until after the Thanksgiving holiday.

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The Respect for Marriage Act cleared another procedural hurdle late Thursday night, with a 53-23 vote to take up the bill.

The bill would provide federal recognition for same-sex marriages and extend benefits to all married couples.

The Senate will continue consideration of the measure when it returns from its Thanksgiving recess on Nov 28, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said.

An amendment to the bill would ensure that it wouldn’t diminish religious and conscience protections. The House passed its version in July, but if the Senate approves the revised bill, the House would have to vote again on the measure.

The Respect for Marriage Act, sponsored by Democrats Dianne Feinstein of California and Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin and Susan Collins, a Maine Republican, would repeal the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act which defined marriage as between a man and a woman under federal law. That law was struck down by the 2015 Supreme Court ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges, which requires all states to grant and recognize same-sex marriages.

Democrats say the new bill is necessary protect the rights of same-sex couples following the Supreme Court’s decision earlier this year to overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision establishing a constitutional right to abortion. Justice Clarence Thomas wrote in his concurring opinion that the court should review other “due process precedents” including the Obergefell v. Hodges ruling.

–With assistance from Laura Litvan.

(Updates with House version of bill, in fifth paragraph.)

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