Senate won't act on same-sex marriage bill until after midterms

Collins says 'this bill is going to pass' despite delay

Sen. Rob Portman Thursday said that the Senate will wait until after the midterms before acting on a bill to codify same-sex marriage protections, after advocates previously hoped to vote on the bill this month. 

Portman, R-Ohio, was one of the top GOP supporters of the legislation, along with Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Mich., led the effort for Democrats. 

"We have listened to our colleagues and we have made certain changes on the religious liberty front, which have, I think have been very positive in terms of getting them on board," Portman said. "But colleagues need a little more time to digest it, which is understandable, and some of the language was still being worked on as of this morning."

He added: "The possibility of a stronger bipartisan vote after the election seems to me to be likely."

Senator Rob Portman, R-Ohio, told Fox News Thursday that the Senate won't act on a bill to codify gay marriage protections before the election. 

Senator Rob Portman, R-Ohio, told Fox News Thursday that the Senate won't act on a bill to codify gay marriage protections before the election.  (Photo by AL DRAGO/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

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Advocates for the bill worked on an amendment to add religious protections and clarify that it would not legalize polygamous marriages. 

A source familiar with the matter told Fox News Digital the amendment included substantive input from Republicans. But it does not appear it was enough to immediately secure the 60 votes needed to pass the bill. 

Collins, however, said "very good shape" and "this bill is going to pass."

Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., said that he thinks the delay is a good thing – a sign the negotiators are serious about seeing the bill pass. 

"It was a good decision," he said. "It will get more votes."

Congressional efforts to pass legislation protecting gay marriage rights followed a solo Supreme Court opinion by Justice Clarence Thomas in June in the case Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization. He said the court should "reconsider" its precedent on the issue. 

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No other justices joined Thomas. But that opinion became a major campaign issue for Democrats and spurred lawmakers of both parties to craft legislation that would require states to recognize same-sex marriage even if that precedent eventually falls. 

Other Republicans who are less supportive of the gay marriage bill say that it is a fundamentally political effort by Democrats ahead of the midterms. They say it's not realistic that the Supreme Court will overturn its gay marriage ruling based on one opinion from Thomas which no other justices joined. 

"The court decision stands," Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said, referring to Obergefell v. Hodges, the decision that required all states to recognize same-sex marriages. "I think this is all politics."