North Dakota, Montana senators discuss marriage equality bill votes

Respect For Marriage Act
Respect For Marriage Act(KFYR-TV)
Published: Nov. 17, 2022 at 2:34 PM CST
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WASHINGTON, D.C. (KUMV) - The Senate voted Wednesday to end a filibuster for legislation aimed at protecting marriage equality.

In a 62 to 37 vote, Senators were able to begin discussion on The Respect for Marriage Act. It doesn’t require states to legalize same-sex marriage, but it does require them to recognize legal marriages from other states. Twelve Republicans joined all 50 Democrats in support. Republican Senators in North Dakota and Montana were against the vote.

In a statement, Sen. Kevin Cramer, R-ND, said: “Today’s vote is the first step leading to the normalization of religious discrimination, and it’s a bridge too far. The Respect for Marriage Act opens up religious institutions and non-profits to senseless litigation challenging the First Amendment liberties enshrined in our Constitution. I wish the federal government never got involved in the marriage business in the first place. Marriage is instituted by God and enforced by His church, it should have stayed that way.”

In a statement, Sen. John Hoeven, R-ND, said: “Same-sex marriage is protected under the Supreme Court’s Obergefell decision and the Fourteenth Amendment. My concern with this bill is that it doesn’t adequately protect religious freedom, that includes both individuals and businesses based on sincerely held religious beliefs, as well as religious organizations.”

A spokesperson for Sen. Steve Daines, R-MT, said “Senator Daines believes marriage is between a man and a woman. Daines believes the Senate should be working to address the inflation crisis, energy crisis and the southern border crisis created under President Biden’s administration.”

Earlier this week, Sen. Jon Tester, D-MT, said that “It’s not the government’s job to decide who Montanans can love and marry, end of story.”

There has been no word on when the bill will be taken up for a full vote.