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Schumer seeks enough GOP support to push forward bill to protect same-sex marriage

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Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (DN.Y.) said Wednesday he was working to build enough Republican support for the Senate to pass a bill that would federally protect the gay marriages.

Republican support for the measure, whose Senate sponsors include Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), appeared to rise Wednesday, a day after the House passed a bill with the support of 47 Republicans.

“I was really impressed with the bipartisan support he got in the House,” Schumer said from the Senate. “I want to introduce this bill, and we are working to get the Senate Republican support needed to secure its passage.”

Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) voiced his support Wednesday, telling reporters, “I think this is the right policy, and I think this is the right message to send.” An aide said the senator, who is retiring at the end of this session, plans to co-sponsor the Senate bill.

In March 2013, Portman announced he was a supporter of same-sex marriage, a surprise decision he made two years after his son, Will, told him he was gay.

“It’s a change of heart from a father’s position,” Portman told reporters in Ohio. “I think we should allow same-sex couples the joy and stability of marriage.”

Meanwhile, Sen. Thom Tillis (RN.C.) told CNN he would “probably” support the legislation.

For the bill to pass, Democrats will need to secure the votes of at least 10 Republicans. Most bills in the equally divided chamber need 60 votes to advance.

The White House had signaled strong support for the bill in a statement Tuesday ahead of the House vote.

“This legislation would guarantee marriage equality in the United States. The right to marry confers vital legal protections, dignity and full participation in our society. No one should be discriminated against because of who they are or who they love, and every married couple in the United States deserves the security of knowing that their marriage will be defended and respected,” the White House statement read. “HR 8404 would repeal the unconstitutional and discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act and enshrine the right to federal marriage recognition for same-sex and interracial couples. This legislation would strengthen civil rights and ensure that the promise of equality is not denied to families across the country.

The House voted on Tuesday in response to an opinion written by Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas last month in which he openly questioned whether the court “should reconsider” decisions guaranteeing access to birth control and the rights of same-sex couples in marriage – two issues that many Americans have considered settled law.

Tuesday’s bipartisan vote was a striking development on the issue of same-sex marriage for members of both parties. Just a decade ago, Democratic Vice President Joe Biden was lambasted for announcing his support for same-sex marriage before incumbent President Barack Obama announced his own views on the issue. More than a decade earlier, Biden helped push the Defense of Marriage Act through the Senate, while House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) and Majority Whip James E. Clyburn (DS.C.) joined 116 supporting Democrats in the House.

Thomas’ opinion opened the door for Democrats to force Republicans to take a stand on the issue, and Republicans split into competing camps on the old burning issue as Democrats were completely unified to protect a right that the Supreme Court had granted seven years ago. While 47 House Republicans voted for the measure, 157 GOP members voted against it, though many said it wasn’t because of opposition to the bill, but Democrats were using it. like a corner problem.

Paul Kane contributed to this report.


Washington

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