NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Tennessee’s Republican Senators Bill Hagerty and Marsha Blackburn tried Wednesday to block a bill that would make same-sex marriage and interracial marriage federal law.
Yet, the bill moved forward with bi-partisan support.
The “Respect for Marriage” Act moved toward a final vote with the support of 12 republicans.
The main sponsor of the bill is the first openly gay member of the senate — Wisconsin’s Tammy Baldwin.
She says millions of Americans are living in fear.
“Scared that the rights they rely upon to protect their families could be taken away,” Sen. Baldwin said.
The bill would ensure same-sex and interracial marriages are legally recognized in case the Supreme Court overturns its precedents.
Here in Tennessee, a poll last year found 54% of Tennesseans support same-sex marriage, while 42% oppose it.
Democrats hope to get this bill passed before republicans take control with representatives like Andy Ogles.
“It’s time that we push those back to the states and so the states can choose,” Ogles told News 2 in a prior interview.
Chris Sanders, Executive Director of the Tennessee Equality Project, says there are a number of issues that face Tennessee’s LGBTQ community.
“We don’t want any attack on marriage equality to pass at any level, but this bill at the federal level would at least might be some option if the state tried to take our right to marry away,” Sanders said.
The offices of Senator Blackburn did not respond to a request for comment about her vote. Hagerty released a statement to News 2 Thursday morning, which reads:
“The Supreme Court has already ordered what this bill seeks to accomplish. Rather, it provides new avenues to exploit for litigation and government enforcement actions against Americans for genuinely-held religious beliefs in the traditional definition of marriage. The bill’s failure to adequately protect religious liberties is magnified by the Biden Administration’s track record of using government power to target its political opponents.”Senator Hagerty
The bill could be up for a final vote in the Senate by the end of the week before going back to the house.