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Ted Cruz says he will vote against bill to codify same-sex marriage protections

By Stephen Neukam, The Texas Tribune

Ted Cruz says he will vote against bill to codify same-sex marriage protections” was first published by The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them — about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues.

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WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz said he will vote against a bill to codify same-sex marriage protections into federal law, ahead of a potential showdown in the Senate over one of the few remaining Democratic priorities expected to get a vote before the midterm elections.

On an episode of his podcast Tuesday, Cruz said the bill would be an attack on religious liberties. The nay from Cruz comes after he said in July that while he thought the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling to legalize gay marriage was “clearly wrong,” it would also be “more than a little chaotic for the court to do something that somehow disrupted those marriages.” Later that month he also said Texas should repeal a now-defunct law banning gay sex.

Sen. John Cornyn will also vote against the bill, according to his office.

The Respect for Marriage Act passed the House in July with the support of 47 Republicans, including Rep. Tony Gonzales, the only Republican in Texas to vote in favor of the bill. The House bill was motivated by Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’ concurrence on the overturning of Roe v. Wade, in which he said the court should reconsider its ruling protecting same-sex marriage.

Angling for a vote this month, Democrats are pushing to get Republicans in an uncomfortable position before the November election.

“This bill without a religious liberty protection would have massive consequences across our country, weaponizing the Biden administration to go and target universities, K-12 schools, social service organizations, churches and strip them all of their tax-exempt status,” Cruz said on an episode of his podcast The Verdict.

Several Senate Republicans have suggested publicly they are open to the bill, including Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Rob Portman of Ohio, Thom Tillis of North Carolina and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, according to CNN.

For the bill to pass the chamber, Senate Democrats would have to keep the entirety of their fragile 50-member majority together — and siphon off at least 10 GOP votes to overcome a Republican filibuster. Cruz said he and allies are fighting to keep Republicans from voting for the act.

“We are having vigorous arguments in the conference about it,” Cruz said. “I and several others are pushing for an amendment to the bill that would be a strong protection of religious liberty.”

While Republicans lobby one another on the vote, Democratic leadership may be planning to pressure the GOP to support the same-sex marriage bill by pairing it with a stopgap bill to continue federal government funding, according to Reuters. Lawmakers must pass the stopgap bill before the end of the month to avoid a partial federal shutdown.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York, who determines when and if the chamber will consider the same-sex marriage bill, said on the Senate floor Tuesday, “Democrats are going to work in good faith to avoid even a hint of a shutdown. And it is my expectation that our Republican colleagues will do the same.”

But while Cruz said he was a steadfast opponent of the legislation, he was not sure how the saga would play out.

“I don’t know if we will succeed in getting the vote on that amendment, and I don’t know how the vote will shake out,” Cruz said. “I hope it doesn’t pass, but I don’t know what will happen.”

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