INTERVIEW: Sen. Tammy Baldwin on the Respect for Marriage Act

Wisconsin U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin spearheaded the bill to give federal protection to same-sex and interracial marriages
Published: Nov. 30, 2022 at 6:02 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WBAY) - The U.S. Senate passed the Respect for Marriage Act on Tuesday. The legislation would give federal protection to same-sex and interracial marriages.

The Senate passed it by a 61-36 vote, with 12 Republican senators joining the unanimous Democrats.

Now the bill heads to the House, which is expected to pass it, and if that happens, President Biden is expected to sign it into law. Even if this bill becomes law, there are 35 states that ban same-sex marriages and this would not force them to change.

Sen. Tammy Baldwin, a Democrat and an openly gay senator, was the lead sponsor of the bill. We talked with her on Action 2 News at 4:30 about how significant it was to have 12 Republican senators cross the aisle.

We also asked her about how difficult it was to get the process to this point. In her speech in the Senate chamber, she thanked the original sponsors and early supporters of the bill for “unrelenting commitment.”

Was codifying gay marriage in the law even on her radar when she joined the Senate in 2013? And what more does she think Congress needs to do?

Wisconsin’s senior U.S. senator, Sen. Ron Johnson, was among the Republicans voting no to the Respect for Marriage Act. He provided Action 2 News with a statement:

“The Respect for Marriage Act is unnecessary as the Obergefell decision is settled law and has no chance of being overturned. The Supreme Court in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization made clear no other right would be affected by its ruling. The Democrats continue to use this to create a state of fear over a settled issue in order to further divide Americans for their political benefit. The substitute amendment did not provide sufficient protection for those with strongly held religious beliefs and leaves a lane open for discrimination by activist groups, state governments and the IRS. I supported my GOP colleagues’ amendments that would have added religious liberty protections to the bill, including Senator Lee’s amendment that would have prohibited the federal government from taking discriminatory action against individuals and institutions for their sincerely held religious beliefs on marriage. I would have supported the bill with my colleagues’ language added. However, they were not adopted. Religious liberty should be upheld for all and those with sincerely held religious beliefs should not be discriminated against for their views on marriage.”