Yanking defeat from the jaws of political victory, Senate Democrats let Sen. Susan Collins of Maine screw up their key culture war messaging yet again. The vote on marriage equality is going to be postponed until after the election because, well, there’s no good reason. So Republicans can prove how bigoted they are after Nov. 8?
Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, apparently and for no discernible reason based on history, was convinced that Collins would be a true bipartisan and get Republicans lined up behind the basic idea that two adults should be able to get married and enjoy the benefits of that union regardless of their race or sexual orientation. Making Republicans say yes or no to that before November’s election was important for voters to see.
What Sen. Elizabeth Warren says:
Having that vote in the immediate aftermath of Sen. Lindsey Graham’s abortion ban neutron bomb was going to be even smarter! Republicans have been thrown into total disarray over abortion, and this vote would have intensified that. It would have given them the opportunity to show voters just how deep their bigotry runs. Or not.
There’s absolutely no guarantee this delay does anything to ensure the bill passes. Nothing. What it does is let Republicans off the hook. It’s simply political malpractice.
Sen. Baldwin issued this statement on behalf of the negotiators: “The Respect for Marriage Act is a simple but important step which provides certainty to millions of Americans in loving marriages. Through bipartisan collaboration, we’ve crafted commonsense language that respects religious liberty and Americans’ diverse beliefs, while upholding our view that marriage embodies the highest ideals of love, devotion, and family. We’ve asked Leader Schumer for additional time and we appreciate he has agreed. We are confident that when our legislation comes to the Senate floor for a vote, we will have the bipartisan support to pass the bill.”
The language has been crafted, so it’s unclear what the additional time needed is for. Republicans are either going to vote for it or not and more time shouldn’t make a difference—it’s not like a it’s a complicated policy with a lot of moving parts that senators have to have time to understand. This vote should happen now.
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