A bill that would codify same-sex and interracial marriage into federal law surpassed the Senate's 60-vote threshold during a procedural on Wednesday, setting the stage for final passage of the legislation later this week.
The vote tally was 62-37, with 12 Republicans joining every Democrat in support.
The bill, entitled the "Respect for Marriage Act," was first passed by the Democratic-controlled House in July amid concerns that the Supreme Court's overturning of Roe v. Wade in June might put marriage equality at risk as well.
In a concurring opinion to that ruling, which ended 50 years of a constitutional right to an abortion, conservative Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas suggested that the precedent underpinning same-sex marriage — which was legalized by the Court in the 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges ruling — should be "reconsidered" as well.
The bill garnered 47 Republican votes when it passed the House in July, but momentum slowed when it reached the Senate, where Republicans expressed concerns about religious liberty protections.
A group of bipartisan senators that included Democratic Sens. Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona — the only two openly LGBTQ members of the chamber — amended the legislation to assuage Republicans, releasing new bill text on Monday.
A Gallup poll from June 2021 found that 70% of Americans — including 55% of Republicans — support same-sex marriage.
A vote had originally been planned before the November midterm elections, but was ultimately delayed at the request of the bipartisan group, which included Republican Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Rob Portman of Ohio, and Thom Tillis of North Carolina.
The Wednesday vote is merely a procedural cloture vote — more Republican senators could support final passage of the bill, and Republicans who voted to proceed could change their mind, though that's unlikely.
Republican Sen. Cynthia Lummis told Insider, with a laugh, that she voted to proceed. But she was coy on whether she'd support final passage.
"Read the Wyoming Constitution. Article One, Section 3," she told Insider in explaining her vote.
That section of the state constitution states that the laws of Wyoming "affecting the political rights and privileges of its citizens shall be without distinction of race, color, sex, or any circumstance or condition whatsoever other than individual incompetency, or unworthiness duly ascertained by a court of competent jurisdiction."
Once the amended bill passes the Senate, the House will have to vote on the legislation again before January, after which President Joe Biden would sign it into law.
Here are the Republican senators who have come out in support of the amended bill:
* Susan Collins of Maine
* Rob Portman of Ohio
* Thom Tillis of North Carolina
* Mitt Romney of Utah
* Lisa Murkowski of Alaska
* Roy Blunt of Missouri
* Richard Burr of North Carolina
* Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia
* Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming
* Dan Sullivan of Alaska
* Todd Young of Indiana
* Joni Ernst of Iowa